The West Virginia golf team will be riding the momentum gained from last week’s match in North Carolina to try to finish the rest of the spring season strong.
The Mountaineers finished sixth last weekend in Kannapolis, N.C., playing against more than a few ranked opponents. This weekend, they’ll be playing at Penn State, and at the end of April they’ll travel to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the Big 12 Championship.
WVU’s three freshman, Mark Goetz, Logan Perkins and Matthew Sharpstene, showed out last weekend with second, eighth and 32nd place finishes, respectively. Head coach Sean Covich was proud of his team’s performance and the way they battled the elements.
"I was pleased with it, I think we played better than we have in the past in adverse conditions," Covich said. "It rained on us the entire day Saturday, and then on Sunday temperatures were right around freezing."
Covich is confident with his five guys that will play at Penn State this weekend. Covich said this will be junior Max Sear’s third trip to State College, sophomore Etienne Papineau has played the course before as well, Goetz is originally from the area, Perkins is hot right now and Penn State’s course fits Sharpstene’s game well.
Covich is also happy with his team’s ability to fight through adversity this spring.
"It’s been good to see how competitive we are from top to bottom," Covich said. "It’s really encouraging."
As for the looming Big 12 Championship, Covich said his team will need to have everything going for them to make some noise on a particularly tough course.
"That golf course, Southern Hills, has hosted U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, U.S amateurs," Covich said. "It is a major championship golf course; you just got to be firing on all cylinders."
WVU finished last in both Big 12 Championships since the program was reenacted in 2015, so this year will be a test of how the program has really grown.
However, this team is still young. Seven of the nine guys on the roster will return next season, including all five players set to play at the Big 12’s.
Covich said while he’d like his team to perform well at this year’s Big 12’s, the most important thing will be getting experience for his young guys and using this year as a stepping stone into next season.
"It is all a learning experience," Covich said, "and it will be even better for next year’s Big 12 Championship."