As the fall golf season comes to a close, the men’s golf team looks to make a team effort as it gets ready for next week’s CordeValle Classic in San Martin, Calif. During the previous four fall tournaments, the Frogs have shown flashes of their potential with two second-place finishes. But when they are not hitting on all cylinders, the team has finished 12th and 11th.
Junior Franklin Corpening said the Frogs need more production from the back end of their tournament teams in order to take it to the next level.
“What we’ve kind of battled throughout the year is our No. 4 and No. 5 guys really haven’t stepped up and played well,” Corpening said. “For us to play well, we have to all play good.”
Although the back end of the teams have struggled, its front-end players, senior Drew Stoltz (two consecutive top-10 finishes), sophomore Jon McClean (three top-10 finishes in four events) and Corpening (first collegiate win at last month’s Memphis Intercollegiate) are giving the team a chance to compete at a high level each time it steps on to the course.
“It’s a product of being prepared,” Stoltz said. “The more that myself, Jon and Franklin play well, the more it’s going to help the guys on the team well and get our best result.”
The Frogs, ranked No. 22 nationally according to Golfweek and No. 24 according to GCAA/Bridgestone Coaches Poll, head into a tournament that is historically known for boasting a field deep with quality teams. This year is no exception with two of Golfweek’s top-10 teams taking the course, including Stanford (No. 9) and host UCLA (No. 3).
Although head coach Bill Montigel said the Frogs do not have a good feel for what to expect from the course just yet, he said he is enthusiastic about next week’s challenge. He said he has heard from colleagues how well-run the tournament is and is looking forward to the practice round so the team can start planning for the intricacies of the course.
“It looks like an extremely long golf course,” Montigel said. “After we play the practice round, we’ll come up with a little bit of a game plan.”
One element that will work in the Frogs’ favor is that they go into the California tournament well-rested.
Corpening said the previous tournaments came one after the other and left them with little time to prepare and rest. He also said the break allowed the team much-needed time to catch up on its school work.
“For this tournament, we’ve had two and a half weeks off,” Corpening said. “We’ve had some sit-down time with ourselves and practiced what we needed to do.”
Even though he said he thinks the team is playing pretty well right now, Montigel said it is on the brink of being an even better squad as it looks ahead to next week and the three-month layoff before the start of spring season.
“We’re awfully close to playing really well,” Montigel said. “I’ll be surprised if we don’t play well in this tournament.