NEWBERRY – Following a white-hot start to the season, Newberry’s men’s golf team has been ranked No. 6 in the nation and No. 1 in the Southeast Region in this year’s first Golfstat rankings.
“As mid-term report cards go, this is very rewarding," said head coach Howard Vroon. "It allows us an opportunity – coaches and players – to take a moment and feel good about the commitment and effort level we have been applying to our training, practice and preparation. I am very happy for these 12 Wolves, and I would like to congratulate them on a job very well done.
Additionally, junior Spencer Skiff is the current national leader among four-year collegiate golfers in the Golfstat Cup, which ranks student-athletes based on their adjusted scoring average. Skiff has been at or below par in all six round this season, was the individual medalist at the UNG Fall Invitational, and is averaging 68.8 strokes per round on the season. Ben Thompson is ranked 70th with a 70.8 stroke average and has four rounds at or below par.
Past winners of the Golfstat Cup include Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler, and Jordan Spieth.
The Wolves have begun the season with a pair of impressive results, claiming a win at the UNG Fall Invitational by shooting a school-record 33 strokes under par after finishing in a tie for fourth at the season-opening Jay Jennison Cup
A number of Newberry’s competitors at the Jay Jennison Cup have appeared in the rankings as well. Tournament champion West Florida is currently the nation’s fourth-ranked team according to Golfstat. Second-place Barry is ranked No. 5 in the initial rankings, while third-place Belmont Abbey entered the rankings at No. 26.
The Wolves tied for fourth at the Jay Jennison Cup with Rollins, which is ninth in the initial rankings. Lander, which also finished tied with Newberry at the Jennison and was runner-up to the Wolves at the UNG Fall Invitational, is ranked 12th. Newberry is one of 29 schools from the South and Southeast Regions to open the season ranked in the nation’s top 50.
A golf team’s win-loss record is derived from its final position on a tournament’s leaderboard: Newberry is considered to have a 24-3 record on the season after finishing fourth of 17 teams at the Jay Jennison Cup (13-3) and winning the 12-team UNG Fall Invitational (11-0). Golfstat rankings are almost exclusively based on each team’s relative win-loss record, which tabulates a final number based on the win-loss record of a team and its opponents throughout the season.
"It’s a long season, and it’s only October," Vroon commented. "We will have some ups and downs. But my hunch is that this group is not satisfied yet. We have learned how fickle and unpredictable the Golfstat rankings system can be, and we have not yet played our best golf this fall. Good golf, but not our best.
"This group is very skilled, but those skills can still be dramatically improved. If this team stays interested in pursuing that improvement - as interested as they have been so far this fall - I would be unwilling to place any limits on what they may achieve. They are that good.”
The Wolves will have a chance to defend their No. 6 national ranking next Monday and Tuesday at the Matt Dyas Invitational hosted by West Georgia.