LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- One event into the season and the Covenant men's golf team already looks like an improved group from last year. Head coach Tom Schreiner has his Scots in position to make a climb up the NCAA rankings and the USA South thanks to strong senior leadership and talented roster.
Coming off a fourth place finish at the Piedmont Fall Invitational earlier this month, Covenant will look to continue the strong start to the season when it hosts the Reeder Cup on Oct. 15-16 at the Lookout Mountain Golf Club. The tournament will feature three teams (Covenant, Piedmont, and Bob Jones), but offers the Scots another chance to improve.
"They are building a lot of good camaraderie and a lot of good chemistry," said Schreiner about his players. "I'm really happy about what is going on with the team and our success so far."
The Reeder Cup will be the first full tournament Covenant has hosted in the fall portion of the season since 2007. Covenant last hosted an event at the Lookout Mountain Golf Club in the spring of 2017 and finished third overall.
For the Scots, though, the Reeder Cup is just another stepping stone to what they hope to accomplish in the 2018-19 season. Seniors Marshall Kent and Josh Wall lead the way for the team, while junior Nathan Hawkins is coming off back-to-back strong appearances at the USA South Tournament. Fellow junior Will Mayfield improved his average score last season and shot a career-best 152 (76-76) at the Piedmont Invitational this season.
Dual-sport athlete in junior James Mitchell also returns to the team and senior Matthew Harvie will finish out his final time of eligibility with the squad. The freshman class includes Will DeMersseman, Isaac Duncan, and Crawford Collett.
"I think we have a great group of guys and this is the most talented roster we've had since I've been at Covenant," Wall said. "There's been a different kind of commitment this year among all our players. Everyone has been spending a lot of time on and off the course."
Covenant has made steady improvements in the GolfStat national rankings, a national database and a tool used by the USA South to determine team qualifiers for the conference tournament, over the last three years. The Scots finished 137th last season, nearly 100 spots better than the finish in 2015-16, and Schreiner wants to see his squad close in on the top 100 in the country.
A fourth place finish at the Piedmont Fall Invitational was a good start towards that end. Kent finished tied for second overall with his two-day score of 144, which included a final round 2-under, 70 for the senior. Mayfield also finished in the top 10 with his ninth place mark.
Following next week's Reeder Cup, the Scots will compete in the challenging Chick-fil-A Invitational in Rome, Ga., on Oct. 22-23 before finishing up the fall at the Maryville Invitational on Oct. 29-30.
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