Crusader golfers build momentum towards championship

With the Masters just a week away, the sport of golf is once again beginning to take the national spotlight in sports.

But nothing has changed for North Greenville University’s golf teams as they have been hard at work all season long.

The men’s team has finished in the top 10 of every event this spring season, highlighted by a victory at the Cliffs Intercollegiate hosted at the Cliffs at Mountain Park.

In the opening two events of the year, the Crusaders battled cold weather to ninth and 10th place finishes, accentuated by senior Josh O’Neal’s fourth place finish at the Richard Rendleman Invitational.

However, the team was just getting warmed up as it entered into the Barton Intercollegiate and Cliffs Intercollegiate.  In the Barton Intercollegiate, the Crusaders finished 20 strokes behind champion and host Barton College, but played stellar golf to take the second place finish.

Junior Tucker MacDonald paced the Crusaders, finishing with a two-day total of 153, good for a 10th place finish overall.  NGU ended day one in fourth place, but played solid golf in tough conditions to secure the second place finish.

The Crusaders would win their first tournament of the season as the hosts of the Cliffs Intercollegiate.

O’Neal would win his first overall title of the season as well, posting a two-day total of 140, two under par.

Of the five men’s teams that competed, the Crusader golfers would place three golfers in the top 25, with freshman Christian Constance falling just behind O’Neal, finishing at fourth place.  MacDonald rounded out the top 25 finishers with an 18th-place finish.

The women’s team has only competed in three tournaments so far this spring, but has shown vast improvement as the athletes prepare for the Conference Carolinas tournament later this year.

In the first event of the new year, the team traveled to Columbus, Ga. for the Lady Cougar Collegiate Classic.

An eighth-place finish by the team would prove to be a motivating point, and the team would proceed to go on a tear for the next two events.

In Hilton Head, S.C., the Crusaders placed six overall out of 18 teams, including beating out all but one of their conference foes at the event.

Junior AnnaLeis Dilbert would pace the Crusaders for the tournament, placing second overall with a two-day total of 153.

The Crusaders came back to Travelers Rest to defend their home turf at the Cliffs Intercollegiate and had an impressive showing last week, finishing merely 12 strokes off of the lead.

The University of Mount Olive won the event with a two- day total of 649, followed by Milligan College, Erskine and NGU, respectively.

The Crusaders were led by Dilbert, shooting a two-day total of 167, senior Denise Shirley and sophomore Callie Taylor, both shooting a two day total of 168.

Both teams have a tune-up tournament before the most important tournament of the year, the Conference Carolinas Tournament.

Both teams have shown improvement in recent weeks and look to win the schools first-ever conference tournament.