While the snow continues to pile up in State College, the Penn State men’s golf team is heading south to Greensboro, Ga.
Coach Greg Nye said he hopes his team can recapture the mentality that it had the last time the team ventured south, when it won the Colleton River Collegiate at the beginning of the month.
The Nittany Lions will face a strong field of teams including No. 2 Alabama and other top 25 programs. They will hit the links on Saturday on the Great Waters course at Reynolds Plantation.
The team will be led by seniors Jay Woodward and Anthony DeGol, who finished fourth and fifth respectively at the Colleton River Collegiate.
“This is probably our most important tournament of the year,” DeGol said. “We play a lot of top ranked teams in the country and the weather’s actually supposed to be really bad going down south so that may work to our advantage, because we’re so used to playing in terrible weather, where everyone down south is used to sunny days.”
Because of the snow, the Lions have been practicing inside leading up to this event and freshman Chris Houston said he’s used to being indoors, but it is very different than being outside.
“We come in here, and to get ready you really just have to be confident in your feel, and you have to have the mindset that you might be a little rusty, but you just have to go with your natural talent.” Houston said. “It’s more mental for me, just knowing I have to get ready to play.”
Houston’s mindset has been paying off this season as he finished tied for first at the Colleton River Collegiate and will be a golfer to watch heading into this weekend’s tournament.
Nye said his players need to have the right mindset heading into the tournament, as it will be a good test for the team.
“That’s the great advantage of this event, it’s just seeing where you’re at and thinking, ‘OK, I need to do this and that and the other,’ and, ‘Oh, I’m pretty far along, farther than I thought, I’m not that far away.’ Then it becomes a self belief thing that you can,” Nye said.
Along with Alabama, the Lions will take on No. 7 Georgia Tech, No. 10 Georgia, No. 18 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Oklahoma, as well as South Florida, Minnesota, Michigan State, Mercer, Kennesaw State, North Carolina-Charlotte, Jacksonville and Liberty.
Nye acknowledged the level of talent the Lions will be facing, but said mindset will be key.
“They are top tier, but that’s our eventual goal so you’ve got to know your mark and if you’re not playing with your mark and seeing that, you need to say, ‘You know what? I can do this, I can measure up,’ ” Nye said.
DeGol said he understood the task ahead of him, but also said the team has been putting in the work indoors to go out and do a good job.
“We’re just trying to work our best in here and get everything we can out of it,” DeGol said. “Going down south hopefully we can put up a good number and move up in rankings.”