The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Mustangs up to par

Men’s golf team kicks off season at Gopher Invitational

The SMU Men’s Golf team will tee off their season on Sept. 13 at a very familiar playing ground: the Gopher Invitational in Wayzata, Minn.

This will be the fifth annual Gopher Invitational and SMU has been a participant in all of them since the first one in 2005. Last year, the team finished 10th at this invitational and their best showing was in 2006, when they finished third.

But, the Mustangs will be returning a strong core of players that led the team to a second place showing in the Conference USA championships last year. The strong tandem of junior Kelly Kraft and sophomore James Kwon will again lead the young team. Both players were selected as All-Conference USA honors last year. Kraft was named a first-team selection for the second consecutive year while Kwon garnered a place on the second team. Kwon also won a place on the all-freshman squad as well.

After leading SMU to their second place finish at the C-USA championships, both Kraft and Kwon were selected for the NCAA Regionals. Kraft finished at 15-over 231 and Kwon ended at 24-over 240.

The Mustangs hope that a year of experience will help improve the team and allow them to contend for the C-USA championship. Last year, SMU had six freshmen on the team: two redshirts and four straight out of high school. Three of those are freshmen – Max Buckley, Marc Sambol and Aaron Stewart – played at the 2009 U.S. Amateur Aug. 24-30.

The golf program has also started to look towards the future. Over the summer, ground was broken for the SMU Payne Stewart Golf Learning Center. SMU alumnus Payne Stewart, a two-time U.S. Open champion, wanted a permanent golf course and practice facility for the team to help them become a perennial Top-25 team.

The facility will undoubtedly help the Mustangs prepare for any terrain or environment they could come across in the future, as well as breaking down their form in order to improve it further. But, perhaps the most important aspect of the facility will be its attraction to future, potential SMU golfers.

So, when SMU starts their season this weekend, they know they are at the beginning of SMU’s climb to the top.

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