After a third-place showing at the ODAC Championship last spring, the 2012-13 Washington and Lee men's golf team is looking to add depth as it takes aim towards claiming its first ODAC title since 2009.
"If you take a look at the championship results from last season, we were even with Guilford's top three golfers," noted second-year Head Coach Pete Gyscek. "It was their fourth and fifth golfers that really allowed them to claim the win – we couldn't match their depth."
The Generals graduated Second Team All-ODAC performer Wilson Anthony, but the rest of the team returns, along with some talented first-year players that should help continue to build the team's depth.
Among the top returnees is sophomore Patrick Clossin, who earned Third Team All-ODAC laurels during his rookie campaign. Clossin tied with Anthony for the top scoring average on the team a year ago, posting 77.8 strokes over 18 rounds played. Clossin tied for 11th at the ODAC Championships and was among the team's most consistent players all season long.
"Patrick has the ability to be our top golfer as evidenced by his final round at the William & Mary C&F Bank Invitational last year," said Gyscek. "He shot a one-under round of 70 on the final day and was one of just five players in the field to shoot under par."
Gyscek is also looking for junior captain Jack Cottrill to have a breakout season in 2012-13. Cottrill had a torrid start to the year last fall, leading the team in scoring average and finishing fourth overall in the Bridgewater Tom Kinder Invitational, and seventh overall at the Randolph-Macon Ted Keller Invitational. His play slid as the season progressed and he finished with an 80.2 scoring average over 20 rounds played.
"Jack started out strong and I'm looking for him to pick up that stellar play again this fall," noted Gyscek. "He did some work on his swing over the last year in order to get to the next level and I'm looking for that to pay off this fall."
Junior Mark Sowinski was another player that Gyscek highlighted as a top contender for the Generals. He finished the 2012 season with an 81.5 average over 17 rounds.
"Mark is a key player for us this year," said Gyscek. "He received the team's most improved player award last year after lowering his average from around 88 to 81. If he continues that trend, he will be a key to the middle of our lineup."
Gyscek also mentioned junior Jake Struebing and sophomore Joey Manzinger as players whose continued improvement could help build that much needed depth. Struebing carded an 81.2 average over 16 rounds, while Manzinger saw action in just two rounds. Despite that fact, Gyscek believes he's ready to step up this year.
"I expect both of these guys to vie for a spot in the lineup each week, especially Struebing, who played in every tournament except the last two because of travel abroad," offered Gyscek.
Newcomers Teddy Corcoran, Festus Turlington and Taylor Stagg will also look to crack the lineup and provide the Generals with added depth. Gyscek believes Corcoran will make an immediate impact after finishing second in the team qualifying the opening week. He also finished 21st in the New York State Amateur over the summer.
Though the Generals' end goal is to win the conference title and compete at the NCAA Tournament, the short term goals are to shoot par on the par fives for the season and improve the team's putting.
"The par five goal is a carry over from last season when we improved from 5.62 to 5.27," said Gyscek. "We want to continue to lower that score and we are also looking to save two puts for every player in every round."
If the Generals can achieve their short term goals, the rest will take care of itself.
As always, W&L will be challenged by an ambitious schedule that includes a beefed up Tom Kinder Invitational at Bridgewater and the William & Mary Joe Agee Invitational which features an all Division I field. The fall concludes with the Guilford O'Briant-Jensen Memorial where the Generals will get a crack at the fifth-ranked Quakers, along with one of the strongest fields of the year.
Action begins this weekend as the Generals take part in the Tom Kinder event held at the Lakeview Golf Club in Harrisonburg, Va.