HEADING TO SOUTH CAROLINA: For Spring Break, the James Madison men's golf team will be heading down to sunny South Carolina then travelling onto Florida. The first part of the break will be at the Barefoot at the Beach Intercollegiate in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 6-8, and is hosted by Appalachian State. The tournament takes place over a month after the Dukes attended their last tournament, the JU Invitational. The Surf Club, where the tournament will take place, is the host for the PGA Carolinas Open.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Following the Barefoot at the Beach Intercollegiate, JMU will head to Tallahassee, Fla., for the Seminole Intercollegiate, March 11-13. The team made its last appearance in Tallahassee for the FSU Spring Break Invitational in 2009 where they placed fourth out of six teams. At that tournament, Mike Smith (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./Nease), a freshman at the time, finished 20th out of 37 competitors. Chad Mozingo (Culpeper, Va./Culpeper County) and Chris Wellde (Ellicot City, Md./Centennial) also both freshman at the time, ranked top 25.
The Dukes will only have two days of rest and preparation between the Barefoot at the Beach Intercollegiate and the Seminole Intercollegiate, meaning focus will be a key component in the success of the team and individuals.
MEETING UP WITH PAST OPPONENTS: The Dukes will face George Mason for the fourth time this school year and first time of the spring season. During their first meeting at the Maryland Intercollegiate, the Dukes placed 12th, four places behind the Patriots, but in the other tournaments the Dukes have worked as a team to place above the in-state rival. The Dukes will meet with two other teams that they have faced before as well, George Washington and St. Bonaventure. The team has placed higher than both of these opponents at every tournament and will work to continue on with that record.
LAST TIME OUT AS A TEAM: At the JU Invitational, the Dukes finished in a tie for 13th with the host, Jacksonville University. The Dukes finished at 69-over par, playing their best round on the final day. Over the final 18 holes, the Dukes shot 299 (+11) to finish at 93. The winning team, Florida, finished at 858 (-6). Junior Chad Mozingo led the Dukes in score by shooting 13-over 229 and tying for 35th. Mozingo was the only Duke in the top 40 and only three Dukes broke the top 50, Rich Leeper tied for 47th and Ryan Vince tied for 49th.
THE COACH'S TAKE ON THE START OF THE SPRING SEASON: After the Dukes finished out the JU Invitational tied for 13th out of 15 teams, Head Coach Jeff Forbes said that "this was an extremely disappointing start to our season. At least the final round gave us something to build on and thankfully we have a month to prepare for our next tournament."
Forbes was happy about the performance of sophomore Ryan Vince (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) and said that "Ryan's final round 2-under 70 was the only bright point of the tournament."
The JU Invitational gave the players the benefit of playing on one of golf's most famous courses, the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. "Even though we didn't play close to our potential, it was a great experience for the guys to play against some of the top teams in the nation at a great course such as TPC Sawgrass," Forbes said.
THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: The Dukes will hope to improve their play at the Barefoot at the Beach Intercollegiate in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 6-8. The tournament will be held at the Surf Club. The course consists of 200 acres of varied terrain that caters to the well-rounded player. The course is home to tournaments year-round because of the beneficial weather of South Carolina. The Dukes will have to put their month-long break from tournament play to good use before the Barefoot at the Beach tournament to recollect and re-evaluate the changes that were made to the team over break.
A JUNIOR-LADEN LINEUP: The Dukes are a young team this season having four juniors and no seniors leading the team in experience. The change in players will call for more leadership from junior captain Mike Smith to improve the spring season's rocky start and their placement in the next five tournaments.
A DIFFERENT LEADER EACH TIME: The Dukes have played in six events and had a different leading scorer in each of the events. Starting off the the Spring season, junior Chad Mozingo placed the highest, tying for 35th at the JU Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla., the second straight event he has been the Dukes' top finisher. Looking for another consistent leader, sophomore Ryan Vince has been among JMU's top-two players in three of his four events so far this season and leads JMU in scoring with a 74.5 stroke average.