Sept. 11, 2011
By John Lock
PINEVILLE, Ky. - The Saluki men's golf team opens its season at the Wasioto Winds Fall Kick-Off Invitational on Monday and Tuesday in Pineville, Ky. The team will play 36 holes Monday and 18 holes Tuesday, beginning at 8 a.m. CT each day.
Thirteen teams are scheduled to compete at the Wasioto Winds Golf Course at Pine Mountain State Resort. The course is par 72 and 7.037 yards long. The field includes Morehead State, Bellarmine, Eastern Illinois, John A. Logan College, Murray State, Northern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, UT Martin, Walters State, Trevecca Nazarene University, University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) and the University of Pikeville (Ky.).
Last year, the Salukis competed at the tournament, placing third of 10 teams. Brandon Cauldwell led the team with a three-round score of 220, finishing tied for 10th overall out of 60 golfers. Two more players who return this year, Jake Erickson and Joe Goelzhauser, finished three strokes behind Cauldwell and tied for 12th overall.
"We're excited to get the season started," head coach Leroy Newton said. "We have a lot of returning guys, and they've all played this course before, so we expect to be in that top group. If we can play up to our potential and do the little things right--chipping, putting and keeping the ball in play--we can win the tournament."
The 2011-12 team returns all but one player from last year's squad, and seven of the eight returnees are upperclassmen. The Salukis will be led by a pair of standout juniors, Brandon Cauldwell and Jake Erickson. Cauldwell led the Salukis in stroke average in 2010-11 and led the team in five of the ten tournaments he played.
Another junior, Jeffery Miller, will contribute heavily in 2011-12. Miller was a regular in the Saluki lineup last year--including a team-low score at the Grover Page Classic--before missing part of the year with an injury.
The Salukis are attempting to rebound from an 8th place MVC finish in 2010-11, which ended seven consecutive top-four finishes at the MVC Championships.
The lone underclassman, sophomore George Tate, returns. Tate competed in nine tournaments last year, just one fewer than leaders Erickson and Cauldwell. He led the team in two tournaments, including a one-under-par 215 at the Skyhawk Fall Classic. He was the only Saluki to break par for an entire tournament last year.