Darton sophomore Nick Green is coming off an individual title at the Faulkner State Invitational and will be the Cavs’ No. 1 golfer this week.
ALBANY — It’s been 11 months since the Darton golf team’s latest tournament win, and Cavs coach Bill Jones III is sick of it.
Sick of the losing, the high scores and the long, frustrating bus rides home.
“We have counted so many scores of 78, 79, 80 and 81 that (Director of Golf Operations Dale) Dover and I are about physically sick,” Jones said. “We know we are better than that.”
In the next two days, the Cavs have a chance to prove it.
They host their first tournament at Doublegate Country Club, starting at 11:30 a.m. today with the first of two rounds — and Jones thinks the home-course advantage might be the perfect cure for Darton’s tournament slump.
“I’m hoping folks will come out here and take this course for granted,” Jones said. “There’s not very much trouble that you can see, but it’s not easy to shoot a great score at Doublegate.”
Darton, the seventh-ranked NJCAA team in the country, is one of nine schools competing in the inaugural tournament, including three Region XVII rivals (ABAC, Andrew and Gordon), four teams from District IV (No. 2 Central Alabama, USC Lancaster, Wallace State and Tri County) and NAIA school USC Beaufort.
“A win right now, with only one more tournament after this until region and district, would be huge,” Jones said. “Even though we haven’t played well all year, I would rather play well at the end. I think that is how we are trending right now. The guys are getting more confident and comfortable with their roles on the team.”
The Cavs, who haven’t won since March of last year when they blew away the competition in the Region XVII meet at Stonebridge Golf and Country Club, will also be at full strength for the first time this spring.
After missing the first two meets with an injured back, freshman and South Korea native TaeHyung Kim is back in the lineup, as is freshman Taylor Martin, a Braselton native, who was injured last month when the Cavs finished fourth in the Faulkner State Invitational.
“If those two guys were healthy, then we probably would have won that tournament,” Jones said.
Martin and Kim will play Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, today, while sophomore Nick Green will play from the No. 1 position after dominating the Faulkner State Invitational and winning the individual title by seven shots.
“Nick is definitely the most confident, is sure of what he is capable of and can put a gameplan together,” Jones said. “He is mentally focused right now, but I have two or three guys who are more talented, so if I can get them to the point he is at (mentally) then we will be a heck of a lot better.”
Darton’s lineup is topped off by sophomore Robert Robertson and freshman Parks Brown, while Madison Turner, Von Stripling, Will Fuller and Neil Graham will compete as a second team.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be 54 holes with teams playing two rounds today. However, expected frost and cold temperatures pushed back today’s tee times and forced tournament organizers to cut the opening day from 36 to 18 holes.
“That definitely hurts us,” Jones said. “We have been a slow starting team this year. Hopefully that can change, but having those three rounds would have helped us.”