Barton tabbed as league favorite
Bulldogs return six golfers including an All-American
|2||Queens (N.C.) (1)||68|
|9||St. Andrews Presbyterian||22|
HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Barton College is picked first in the spring poll by Conference Carolinas head coaches after finishing 11th in the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll and 13th in the Golfstat poll following the fall season. The Bulldogs, led by sophomore Daniel Claytor, placed in the top five in all of their five fall tournaments, including winning the 21-team Kiawah Island Invitational. Claytor, who is the No. 1-ranked player in the Southeast Region with a 71.69 scoring average, was top five in every tournament and won medalist honors in a playoff at Kiawah. He was also two-time league golfer of the month.
The Bulldogs, who had a 47-9 record against Division II foes, returned six players from last year's squad, which was ranked No. 2 in the Southeast and finished runner-up in the Conference Carolinas Championships. All-American Daniel Castleberry (73.9) and East Carolina University transfer Michael Marshburn (74.0) also played well in the fall. Freshmen Dermot McElhennon and Micah Lawrence completed the lineup in most events, but 14th-year head coach John Hackney has three other players averaging better than 75, and expects contributions from all 10 of his players.
"The guys had a nice fall, so we are just looking to back it up in the spring," said Hackney, whose teams have made 11 consecutive NCAA appearances. "We have some great players and great teams in our league, so I would love to see Conference Carolinas continue making inroads on the national golf scene."
Queens University of Charlotte is coming off its best year in program history after advancing to the NCAA Championships. Queens returns all but one player from that NCAA team with three current Royals from the fall ranked among the top 15 players in the region.
Not only did the Royals place second at their own fall tournament and second in the fall Southeast Region Preview, but they beat top-seeded Barton in two out of the three meetings. The two teams square off at least three times this spring. Queens will look to Robbie Ellis, Freddie Nordhoff, and CJ DeDerg in setting its sight on the NCAA Championships again.
Coker College is ranked third in the preseason poll. The Cobras are coming off a successful fall campaign where they placed in the top 10 as a team in three of four tournaments, including winning the Lenoir-Rhyne Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate. Returning for the Cobras are Jake Murphy, the 2010 Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, along with all-conference selection Jared Crane. With the help of sophomore Ben Conroy, junior Diego Polo and freshman Matt Kreider, the Cobras have a solid core that should help them compete for the Conference Carolinas Championship in April.