CLAREMONT, Calif. –The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's golf team gets its 2013 season underway on February 4-5 at the Cal State San Marcos Invitational. The Stags enter the season ranked No. 7 in Division III after a 2012 season in which they finished a program-best fourth at the NCAA Division III Championships in May, despite finishing fourth overall in the SCIAC.
The fact that the Stags finished fourth in the conference and then finished fourth at the NCAA Championships speaks to the level of competition in the SCIAC as four teams (No. 4 Redlands, CMS, No. 11 La Verne and No. 17 Cal Lutheran) were ranked in the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) poll that came out in the fall.
"Our first goal is always to win SCIAC and our second goal is to always get to the National Championships and perform well," said head coach Bim Jollymour.
For those goals to happen in 2013, the Stags will have to overcome the loss of the team's No. 1 golfer over the last few seasons in four-time All-American Tain Lee who graduated in the spring. With three new golfers and three returners that figure into the rotation, Jollymour believes that he has the golfers to fill the void left by Lee.
"He is the only one off the team and we did bring in three fine freshmen so I think we will be OK," said Jollymour. "We have more depth than we did before."
The three freshmen expected to be in the playing rotation are Justin Beck (CMC), Ahmed El Tamami (CMC) and Kethan Reddy (CMC). Despite being freshmen, Jollymour believes the newcomers to be a, consistent, experienced group as each one of them won their high school conference championships.
"They are all seasoned veterans when it comes to tournament play because they have played so many junior tournaments," said Jollymour.
The three returners expected to be in the rotation are junior Bradley Shigezawa (CMC), junior Jordan Stein (CMC) and sophomore Phillip North (CMC). Shigezawa is a transfer from Northwestern University and was in the rotation there. Junior Patrick Fujieki had been playing well through practice as well and could see some time for the Stags. Another top returner for the Stags is junior Aron Larson who competed for the team at the 2012 NCAA Championships.
Once again the Stags have a tough schedule, one that includes three SCIAC tournaments including the SCIAC Championships along with a trip to Jekyll Island, Georgia in March for the Collegiate Invitational. The Collegiate Invitational is the largest Division III tournament outside of the National Championships.
"I would say that if you play well back there [in Georgia], you are playing against the best and if you do well and you don't win your conference championship, you are probably going to get an invite to the National Championships," said Jollymour.
One difference on the schedule between this year and last year is that the SCIAC is going with 36 hole or 54 hole tournaments which is what most of the other conferences around the country are doing.
"The nice thing about that is everything will be Saturdays and Sundays so we are only missing one day of classes for SCIAC events this year," said Jollymour.
With a group of experienced returners and talented freshmen, look for the Stags to be in hunt for a SCIAC Championship and return trip to the NCAA Championships in May.
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