- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It did not take long for the College of Southern Maryland golf team to realize that last week’s national tournament was everything it was hyped up to be and then some.
Sophomore George Bowie, a McDonough High School graduate, the Hawks’ top golfer at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament, played with a Mesa Community College (Ariz.) talent during the Sunday and Monday 18-hole practice rounds at the Swan Lake Resort Black Course in Plymouth, Ind.
“His swing was really good. He scored in the 70s every day,” Bowie said.
There was another standout in the national field that carded a 63 during the practice rounds, according to Bowie, while playing in a practice round with Hagerstown’s Ryan Crabtree, a member of the Maryland Junior College Conference like CSM.
During the four competitive rounds of the tournament that began last Tuesday and lasted through Friday, only twice did a CSM player manager to register a score in the 70s.
Bowie had a 7-over-par 79 in the second round, while freshman teammate Cody Jameson (Leonardtown) fired a CSM round-best 77 on the final day.
By contrast, all but one round saw scores in the 70s during the four days by each member of the top quartet of Mesa golfers. Mesa finished with a runner-up tab of 1,200 to Division II national champion Walters State Community College (Tenn.) with a winning tally of 1,189, just 37 strokes over par.
CSM finished 18th among the 20 teams in the field with a 1,331, 179 strokes over par.
“I don’t think anyone on our team thinks they played to their best potential, but it was a great experience,” Bowie said, spearheading the Hawks with a 39-over 327 to tie for 92nd place individually among the 128 golfers at nationals. “It was a really good opportunity to be on that stage and to compete with those caliber of players. We knew were up against stiff competition.
“The teams out west play all year round. We were just getting into warmer weather the last month.”
He added, “Our team was hoping to finish in the top 10, and some of us were hoping to be All-Americans.”
Jameson was second on CSM behind Bowie throughout the four rounds, toting a 332 to finish knotted for 98th place.
Freshmen Garrett Tucker, a Huntingtown resident, posted a score of 333, tying for 101st place, while Chopticon graduate Nick Jerome had a 339 to place 115th individually.
Sophomore Jon Parsons from Mechanicsville was also part of CSM’s squad at nationals. His output of 360 finished 123rd individually and did not count toward the team total, comprised of only its top quartet of golfers through the four days.
“The course was pretty tough,” Bowie said. “If you made a bad swing off the tee, you were going to pay for it. If [your ball] didn’t hit the fairways [on the drive], you were in the hazard. The fairways were narrow.
“The greens were tiered. If your ball was on the wrong tier [on the greens], you would at least two-putt.”
When Bowie notched his 79 in the second round last Wednesday, he noted that CSM’s early tee time was a benefit as the wind did not wreak havoc on the Hawks like they endured the other three rounds.
“I actually didn’t play that good on that day either,” he added about his second-round performance in the 70s. “I had a four-putt on one hole. I did have an eagle that day.”
Advancing to nationals was the ultimate goal for the Hawks this season. Anything they did there represented the proverbial cherry on top.
Hagerstown, according to Bowie, was the favorite to represent Region XX in nationals. During the eight tournaments of the regular season, mostly involving Maryland Junior College Conference teams, CSM only bettered Hagerstown on one occasion. That ironically occurred in Hagerstown.
Then, at the regional championship May 2 to 4, CSM tallied a 649 to beat Hagerstown by seven strokes.
“I think it was great, it exceeded all of the expectations we had,” Bowie said of CSM’s season. “We just wanted to get to nationals.”
Bowie was a main ingredient on McDonough’s Class 2A-1A state championship during his senior year in high school.
“I did have a flashback to that situation,” he said while golfing at nationals for CSM. “I was lucky in high school. I got to go to states for three straight years. Now, I know what to expect [at nationals]. Absolutely, I’d do better [if I went back nationals].”
With his time at CSM completed, Bowie plans to attend the University of Maryland in College Park in the fall. He indicated that CSM head coach Ned Spearbeck wants him to walk on the Terrapins golf team. Bowie would be playing the same Terrapins course where he celebrated the state crown with McDonough.
“If the opportunity comes, I might do that,” he said about attempting to be a golfing walk-on at Maryland.