SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Feb. 24, 2013) – The courses Oklahoma Christian will play on this spring might seem familiar to those who follow professional golf – because most of them have hosted a PGA Tour or other pro tournament.
Playing on courses like TPC San Antonio – where the Eagles will open the spring season Monday in the San Antonio Shoot-Out – will be a primary highlight for a team that already has won a national championship this academic year, having taken the National Christian College Athletic Association title this past fall. That was OC’s third national men’s golf championship.
It will be a different feeling not playing for a championship at the end of the school year, OC coach David Lynn said. But there should be plenty of motivation for the Eagles during the spring season, including the opportunity to play on high-level courses.
“As a coach you like to create a sense of urgency, and we’ve always been able to do that in the spring with the opportunity to compete for a championship,” Lynn said. “We did that in the fall. This spring, we don’t necessarily have that sense, so the guys are relying on their own personal pride. I tried not to do anything different except maybe try to provide a more relaxed atmosphere.
“For the most part, I’ve got a group of competitive guys who want to get better on a daily basis.”
TPC San Antonio has hosted the PGA Tour’s Texas Open in recent years. OC’s next event will be at TPC Four Seasons in Las Colinas, Texas, which annually hosts the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship. Another tournament site, Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith, Ark., has hosted a Hooters Tour event.
Gaillardia Country Club in Oklahoma City has hosted PGA Champions Tour events and Hackberry Creek Country Club in Irving, Texas, has been the site of numerous high-level events.
“We’re fortunate to be invited to so many of these tournaments that are being played on outstanding courses,” Lynn said. “It’s such a great opportunity for the guys to be able to play on courses of this caliber.”
Lynn typically has used the fall season to prepare for the spring championship season. Now it’s the opposite –the Eagles will need to use the spring as a springboard into a fall championship season, at least for a couple more years until OC completes the three-year transition process from the NAIA into NCAA Division II.
The spring will be the final go-round for a pair of OC seniors, Vilhelm Bogstrand and Logan Herbst. Bogstrand is a three-time tournament winner and the medalist at the NCCAA Championship in October, while Herbst always seems to be in the top 10 of most events but hasn’t yet captured an elusive tournament title.
“Logan wants to win a tournament,” Lynn said. “All the guys want to win tournaments individually and they want to win team tournaments. All the statistics – they want to do well in their stroke averages. They want to do well every day. They have plenty of pride. We still have goals for this season. They’re just different.”
Bogstrand, Herbst and OC’s other three golfers who played in the NCCAA event – Alasdair Dalgliesh, Jared Consoli and Sam Johnston – already have earned All-America honors. Bogstrand, Herbst, Consoli and Johnston all finished the fall season in the top 21 in NCAA Division II stroke average, with Johnston the best nationally at 69.71.
They’ll all see action during the spring, although Lynn plans to liberally sprinkle in others looking to break into the starting lineup, such as Taylor Williams, Bobby Todd, Johnny Ellis, Trey Payne and Cooper Denton.
Lynn brought most of them to San Antonio, with some set to play as individuals for the experience.
“I have made everybody qualify like I normally would (for tournaments) and have given nobody any spots,” Lynn said. “I will take some individuals to other tournaments, like Dallas Baptist, Fort Smith, even TPC Four Seasons. There will be an opportunity for a lot of different guys to get in the lineup. I want to get as many guys as much tournament experience as possible.”
One other goal the Eagles will have this spring will be to hold their spot in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division II College Coaches’ Poll which they earned with their strong fall season. OC rose as high as No. 10 after its 52-shot win at the NCCAA Championship.
“We want to let more people know that we’re playing a quality schedule,” Lynn said. “It’s a high-caliber schedule as far as golf courses go and the fields will be outstanding.”