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College of Southern Maryland golf

Head coach: Ned Spearbeck (fourth season)

Last year: 1-6

Athletes to watch: George Bowie (So., McDonough; All-MDJUCO), Jonathan Parsons (So.) Cody Jameson (Fr., Leonardtown), Nick Jerome (Fr., Chopticon)

Key personnel losses: Eric Sawchak (North Point; team MVP), Eric Ryon (Northern; All-MDJUCO), Andrew Turgeon (Northern), Andrew Hungerford (McDonough)

Strengths: Spearbeck said that all of his players have a strong work and practice ethic. He said it can be a tough situation to have players who want to work and simply can’t because of the weather conditions. Most of the golfers do play at the club level locally and have practiced and played in the offseason. Some played in local Maryland state tournaments. They have their own amateur seasons. Most players have or do work at a golf course and are getting the behind the scenes knowledge and are growing into a professional atmosphere.

The team has assistant coach Kyle Carranza, the 2011 CSM All-American and All-JUCO player, back this season.

Weakness: The inability to practice in the beginning of 2014. The Hawks are on the course in Pinehurst, N.C., battling the chilly and windy conditions to finally get some swings in.

Coach’s comments: “We’ve had such limited practice. My poor kids have just had real difficulty in getting into the season. I think we have a team with the great work ethic that will overcome the lateness in preparation. We’re looking to turn that weakness into a strength.”

Key matches: April 24 MDJUCO Championships, May 20-23 National Championships at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind.

TAMMY SHOWALTER

The College of Southern Maryland golf team may have had the wintry mix to deal with this year in preparation for their 2014 season, but they aren’t letting it damper their spring break trip this week to Pinehurst, N.C.

Monday saw the Hawks dealing with chilly 34-degree windy weather, but they are getting a chance to play on the eight-course facility at Pinehurst Golf Resort, which has hosted the U.S. Open three times and will for a fourth time later this year.

CSM took on Lackawanna College (Pa.) in its first match of the season on Tuesday. Lackawanna finished 15th in the country a year ago in the NJCAA Division II rankings and have its top four players returning.

“They are so excited to play in this 34-degree weather with 20-degree wind chill, drizzly weather that they must have been locked in a cabin for a long time,” said CSM head coach Ned Spearbeck, who is also the head golf coach at McDonough High School in Charles County. “We start off with the very powerful Lackawanna College, a team we usually see at nationals. We’ve developed a little rivalry with them that’s been healthy for us. We try to bring our teams down here for spring break.”

The team is hoping to qualify as a team to the national tournament, which will be held at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind. from May 20 to 23. Before that, the Hawks have the Region XX tournament to contend with, which is scheduled from May 1 to 3.

“It’s nice when you get to nationals to already know another team from regionals,” Spearbeck said. “They qualify from a different region than we do.”

CSM needs to tackle the regular season first, which included practicing on Pinehurst’s No. 6, a demanding 90-acre, par-71 course on Sunday. The course has 25 acres of fairways, 50 acres of rough and 57 sand bunkers.

Sophomore George Bowie said this is the year he wants to redeem himself, but first he’s going to visit the archives to learn a little history while he’s at Pinehurst.

“I think this will be the last year I play competitive golf,” Bowie admitted. “I technically had to withdraw myself from nationals last year after having a broken putter. We’re coming together as a team. We have two good freshmen that were really solid golfers in high school. They’re coming around. We’re playing on a Jack Nicklaus inspired course today, which is nice. We’ll be going to the archives today too. Coach likes that sort of stuff.”

Bowie, a McDonough High School graduate, said the only thing that’s tough for freshmen to get used to is playing in the spring as opposed to the fall, after having the summer months to practice and prepare.

For Leonardtown graduate Cody Jameson, he’s seeing the faster greens as a college player.

“Competition is going to get a lot harder where they take it to the next level,” Jameson said. “This season I really want to make it to nationals and maybe just bring some more hope to the team.”

Upcoming milestone

The school’s athletic banquet will be held on May 7.

That evening former head golf coach Danny Williams, who implemented the program in 1989 back when the school was called Charles County Community College, will be inducted into the CSM Hall of Fame along with a former player Roger Welch.

“Williams established so many teams,” Spearbeck said. “I was the assistant coach to Danny for the first nine years that I helped coach the team, so I got to work with Danny for many years and had a fabulous time over all those years.

“He lived and breathed the College of Southern Maryland and was instrumental and has touched many, many lives. He came to me a few years ago and said I finally got a student who’s told me his grandmother’s taken classes from me.”

Welch won the National NJCAA Golf Championships in 2002 at Palm Valley Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz. He shot 7-under-par for the tournament, winning by five strokes. He also was honored as a first-team All-American.

Spearbeck said his team may be growing as he’s awaiting the file approvals for more applicants. If you are interested in joining the golf team, call the college at 301-934-2251.

tshowalter@somdnews.com