Men’s golf tees off in Florida

The men’s golf team will leave the nasty weather of northwest Ohio and head to Florida this weekend to kick off it’s spring season at the Big Red Classic in Ocala, Florida.

A young Falcons team will try to improve on a fall season in which many of the players were getting acclimated to collegiate athletics.

The Falcons last were in action on October 15 of last year as they finished ninth at the Xavier Provident Invitational at Grizzly Course in Mason, Ohio.

In finishing ninth in that tournament, the Falcons finished tied with Akron and Ohio for the highest finish among Mid American Conference teams. The Falcons finished ahead of Marshall and Ball State.

Head coach Garry Winger said it has been tough for the Falcons to work on their game because of the cold, winter weather.

“We haven’t hit a ball outside since November because of the weather, so it’s tough to say what our strengths and weaknesses are going to be,” Winger said.

One strength that coach Winger did mention was Craig Pickerel.

At the Xavier Provident Invitational, Pickerel set a new school record score for 54 holes of 208. Ironically, the record had been held by Winger. Winger set the record in 1994 with a score of 210. Pickerel placed third in the tournament.

Winger expects big things out of PIckerel this spring.

“Hopefully Craig Pickerel can continue the success he had in the fall when he led the team in average,” Winger said.

Pickerel had the lowest average among all the Falcons in the four tournaments in the fall with an average of 72.36. Along with the third place finish at Xavier, he placed fifth at the BGSU John Piper Intercollegiate.

Austin Chase is going to be another key contributor for the Falcons this spring. Chase tied a career best for 54 holes by carding 217 in Xavier. Chase shot a season low round of 72 six times in the fall.

With five out of the eight golfers on the Falcons playing in either their first or second year of competition, the Falcons have plenty of room to grow.

Chris Leake, Bud Ziglar, and Tommy Lopez will all be making their first spring trip of their collegiate careers this weekend.

“We have four guys that will be making their first ever spring trip,” Winger said.

Pickerel feels that the Falcons will show improvement this spring after gaining a lot of experience in the fall.

“We’re more experienced so I think we’ll have a much better spring than fall,” Pickerel said. “We’ve been working hard in the offseason and hopefully it will pay off at the tournaments.”

The Big Red Classic will take place on Saturday and Sunday in Ocala. After the classic the Falcons will have nearly a month off before traveling to Marshall for the Marshall Invitational on April 4.