BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After a nearly four-month hiatus, the Birmingham-Southern men's golf team is back and ready to hit the links in the spring season.
Coming off a fall season which saw the Panthers grab three top-five finishes, head coach Richard Schmidt is happy with where his team stands as they look to the spring campaign.
"Overall, in the fall, we were pretty consistent," Schmidt said. "I would've liked for us to have been in a position to win or be top two in a few of those tournaments, but we played consistently in the fall and that's a positive."
Schmidt expects the consistency to continue in the spring with his two top golfers, seniors Torben Krieger (Ruppichteroth, Germany/Bodelschwingh-Gymnasium Herchen) and Steven LaMay (Parkland, Fla./Westminster Academy) leading the way.
"Torben Krieger and Steven LaMay both played well in the fall as our No. 1 and 2 guys," he said. "They're both seniors and I just want them to play to the best of their ability and go out with a bang. Hopefully we can play well and do something special for them to end their careers on."
The Panthers will also be looking to junior Colin MacLane (Oviedo, Fla./The Master's Academy), who Schmidt described as his most improved player this year, to give the team a boost, as well.
"Colin MacLane has always been a slow starter in the fall and comes on in the spring, but this past fall he played very well, very consistent and had counting scores in every tournament," Schmidt said. "I was pleased to see him step up in the fall and do what I think he's capable of doing, and I think he'll continue to play well this spring like he has in the past."
On their path to a potential national tournament appearance, the Panthers are scheduled to compete in four tournaments before the Southern Athletic Association Championship Tournament in mid-April. The first is the Linda Lowery Invitational in Austin, Texas.
"The (Linda Lowery Invitational) will have a very strong field with a lot of the Texas teams which we don't see normally," Schmidt said. "I'm excited about the chance to compete against good teams we don't usually see and see how we match up."
After their opening tournament, the Panthers will participate in the Callaway Gardens Collegiate and the Jekyll Island Collegiate in March. Like the Linda Lowery Invitational, Schmidt expects those two tournaments to put his golfers to the test.
"Both the Callaway Gardens tournament that Berry hosts and the Jekyll Island tournament that Oglethorpe hosts are very strong-fielded tournaments," he said. "If we can have good finishes in those then we should move up in the rankings."
Birmingham-Southern will cap the regular season at the Emory Spring Invitational in Stone Mountain, Ga. in early April before jumping into postseason play, starting with the SAA Championship Tournament on April 19-22.
Schmidt said the ultimate goal every year is to win the conference tournament and go to the national tournament but his definition of success this year is to keep improving.
"If we can get into the top 25 or top 20, I'd be very happy with where we are at in the second year of my tenure," he said. "We hovered in the mid-to-low thirties last year and we sitting at No. 27 to start the spring, so if we can get into the top 25 or 20 then that would be very gratifying."