It’s crazy what just a few years can do.
Three years ago, WVU was just another start-up program, trying to make their mark in the dense, competitive world of NCAA golf. Now, the Mountaineers are wrapping up a season highlighted by a trio of team victories, and look to finish with an impact at the 22nd Big 12 Men’s Golf championships.
The 72-hole tournament will tee-off April 23, from Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., and run through April 25.
“We’re looking forward to the tournament. It’s a major championship in college golf,” WVU coach Sean Covich said. “We’re just excited to get down to Southern Hills.”
The team will enter the tournament with momentum on their side, as they are coming off a runner-up finish at the Penn State Rutherford Intercollegiate.
“We’re starting to play well, and it’s been a year of improvement. Everyone on the team has gotten better, and that’s what it’s all about,” Covich said.
He hopes his team can carry that momentum forward as they look to take on one of the upper echelon college championships.
“It’s just a great opportunity,” he said. “That’s what you come to West Virginia for, to play in the Big 12 Championship. And I think we have confidence going based on our play this year.”
Junior Max Sear, who comes off an individual runner-up finish at Penn State, will lead the Mountaineers into the tournament. Sear looks to pace his team, and is focusing on his game around the green as the key to success on the weekend.
“I’ve been focusing on putting all year,” Sear said. “The rounds I post good scores are the rounds I’m putting well, and the rounds I don’t do well I struggle on the greens. The greens should be pretty fast, so I’m focusing on that.”
Covich expects one of the major challenges to be figuring out the course once they are on location in Oklahoma. According to him, knowing the course intricately can have quite the impact on one’s play.
“That’s huge in golf, just knowing the layout of the course. We’re kind of behind the eight ball. In our practice round, we just have to pay attention to the course,” Covich said.
Sear and his teammates look forward to attacking the opportunity in front of them with gusto, and are eager for the atmosphere of a championship event.
“It’s kind of just an exciting environment,” Sear said. “Just being able to warm up next to these guys who had tremendous college career is a great opportunity. It’s just a different kind of environment; everyone takes things a little more seriously.”
Of course, there is one thing bout the tournament the squad isn’t worried about taking too seriously; their uniform selection.
“Keenan, my five year old, when we come home from tournaments he always asks what we wore, and he’s always giving suggestions,” Covich said. “I told him, if you’re good in school, and you listen to your mom, than you can pick out one of our uniforms. He actually picked out a good uniform.”
Regardless of uniform choice, the Mountaineers are ready to show their continued growth as a program on one of the highest levels in NCAA golf.
“It’s just another year to try and get better,” Covich said.