The Eastern men’s golf team is set to begin its spring schedule on March 8-10 at the Butler Spring Break Tournament in Florida.
The men are predicted to finish last in the Ohio Valley Conference, but are returning sophomores Alvaro Hernandez and Charlie Adare. Eastern Kentucky received 10 of the 11 first place votes for the spring preseason poll followed by Jacksonville State and Tennessee-Martin. Tennessee-Martin was the only other team to receive a first place vote.
Murray State is predicted to finish fourth, followed by Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Belmont, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay, Tennessee State and Eastern. Eastern is coming off a disappointing fall season where it finished last or second to last in three of its four meets.
Eastern Kentucky finished the fall season ranked in the top 30 nationally in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll. Eastern Kentucky won four of its six events in the fall and finished second in the tournaments it did not win.
Hernandez is one of the bright spots on this team with one top five finish and one top 10 finish in the four meets in the fall. On average, Hernandez was shooting a 73.58 per round in the fall, which was a team best by five strokes. His top five performance came at the Zach Johnson Invite, where he tied for fourth with a three-round total of 224. The Panthers finished fourth in that invite, which was their highest finish in two years.
Adare had the second best average per round, which was 78, in the fall. Adare’s lowest round of the fall was a 68, and it came at the Dayton Fall Invitational. He was the headliner in the first round and was the overall leader by one stroke. Adare would end up with an 82 in the second round and an 82 in the third to finish in 35th overall.
Freshman Romeo Perez had the third best average on the team in the fall, although playing six rounds less than Hernandez and Adare. Perez averaged a 78.33 and had one top 10 finish. The top 10 finish came in his first event for Eastern at the Zach Johnson Invite. Perez opened his first round with a 73 and finished with a three-round total of 228 to finish in 10th.
The Butler Spring Break Tournament is the first of four tournaments in the spring followed by the OVC Championship. The other meets are set to take place at Missouri State, Arkansas State and Western Illinois.
Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]