Sept. 9, 2004
By Shalae Schulte
CARBONDALE, ILL. - The men's golf team opens its 2004-05 season this Monday and Tuesday when they travel to Jackson, Mo. for the Morton B. Harris Invitational at the Bent Creek Golf Course hosted by Southeast Missouri State.
The Salukis won the 16-team tournament a year ago and hope to repeat as they return three of the top five golfers from last year's squad. Coach Leroy Newton is very optimistic of the coming season.
"The sky is the limit for these kids, if they want to work hard. If we play like we have in practice rounds, I'll be really satisfied," Newton said.
Senior Brian Norman and sophomore Kyle Hosick, two All-Missouri Valley Conference performers from last year's fourth place tournament team, lead this year's campaign.
"Kyle has played well and is continuing to play well," Newton added. "Norman has proved that he could play. Last year he was one of the best in the conference, and if he takes his game to the next level, which he should, we're going to be tough."
Norman, coming off two individual tournament wins and a fourth place finish at the conference tournament last spring, holds the SIU single-season stroke average record at 72.70.
Hosick placed in the top three individually in five tournaments last season including a third place finish at the conference championships, which earned him all-conference recognition as a freshman.
Sophomore Andrew Guinup and junior Roger Welch will contrbute to the mix as well. Both redshirted last year, but gained experience two years ago for the Salukis.
Braxton Weaver who contributed as a freshman returns along with junior Rob Laegeler. Weaver played in every tournament but one last year and compiled a 77.81 average. Laegeler played in three tournaments with a 78.00 stroke average.
The Salukis welcome two junior college transfers, Chad Cooper and Sean McNemar. Cooper, a transfer from Rend Lake Community College, finished 12th at the junior college championships last year earning All-American and all-region honors. McNemar, a former teammate of Norman's at John A. Logan Community College, finished second at the NJCAA national tournament, earning All-American honors as well.
The Salukis are looking to improve their fourth place conference finish in the MVC and increase their three tournament wins last season.
"We should have an opportunity to win tournaments that we enter," Newton said of his team. "We have the credentials now. We just have to put it all together."