Men's Golf NEWS

Patriots golf making grand, national entrance to NJCAA

April 24, 2015

By HARRISON HAMLET – Bulletin Sports Writer

The story of Patrick Henry Community College’s (PHCC) golf team’s success can be told in a single moment.

Last week, coach Robert Weinerth was walking up and down the range at the Region X tournament. His players were all working on their swings as the sun set and they started looking forward to the final round and a chance at a trip to the NJCAA national tournament.They had been there, alone as a team, working for two hours after the other teams had retreated to their hotels.They had a 14-stroke lead.Weinerth has his Region X champion Patriots in position to contend for PHCC’s first NJCAA national title only two years after the program was in its infancy. Weinerth, however, was quick to point out that this semester brought together a perfect storm of talent and personalities that could set the foundation for a perenniel contender or be a flash in the pan.“I told them this might be your only chance. It’s very difficult to get five talented people,” Weinerth said. “Especially when you consider in this group we’ve got kids from Patrick County, people from Sweden, England. How’re they all going to get along? And they do. It’s amazing that they do.”Weinerth said the Patriots’ ability to have any player come out on top any given day was his teams’ biggest advantage heading into the Region X tournament.“The difference is the bottom of our lineup is better than the bottom of everybody else’s lineup right now,” Weinerth said. “It seems like all the teams, or most of the teams, in Region X have got one or two really good players. Our one and two guys are as good, if not better, than any of those players, but our three through five positions are better.”“Our three, four and five players have come in second and won tournaments,” Weinerth continued. “They’re all capable, where a lot of teams in our region don’t have the full roster. Our depth is the ticket.”That starts with course management, according to Weinerth.“These guys are very intelligent when it comes to course management,” Weinerth said. “They all realize if you hit the ball bad you can’t quit. That’s another reason why they’re strong; these kids are not quitting on me.”Daniel Rudolfsson, from Gavle, Sweden, has solidified the No. 2 spot for the Patriots and has pushed No. 1 Tyler Shough all season, according to Weinerth.Rudolfsson said that the key to this semester’s success, his first with the team, has been team chemistry.“We have a great team and we all get along,” Rudolfsson said. “Myself and Lawrence, from England, the internationals, we add some flavor to the team. We adapted quickly and we get along great with our teammates.”That chemistry off the course has translated into success between the ropes for the Patriots this season.“I think the best thing for our team is we compliment each other. Even though we didn’t play our best during the week or again at the regionals, we still pulled through. None of us shot in the 80s which means everyone played solid and grinded through,” Rudolfsson said. “I think that’s what makes us good — everyone is fighting for each other.”In an individual sport where animosity can breed in an instant, Weinerth said that this team is unique in his career as far as chemistry is concerned.“Your Tylers (Shough, No. 1 seed) and your Daniels (Rudolfsson, No. 2 seed) want Damian (Beasley, No. 5 seed) to play better than them. There’s no animosity there. You can get that in golf,” Weinerth said. “It’s a selfish sport because it’s an individual sport, but it’s not that way with these guys. There’s not a negative thought in their head on the golf course about their teammates and that’s huge.”The NJCAA nationals will be contested from May 21-24 in Scottsboro, Ala., using a four-round format. Weinerth and Rudolfsson said doubling the length of their average tournament should only be an advantage.“I think the national tournament being four days is going to help us. You’re going to hit the ball bad one of those days,” Weinerth said. “The more days the better off we are, because, again, we’re in better shape at the bottom end of our team than most teams.”Rudolfsson said part of the excitement that goes into a four-day tournament is the rarity of the length at the junior levels.“It’s really exciting, first of all it’s a four-day tournament. I think it’s only the third four day tournament I’ve played in my career so that’s a little bit of a thing you need to adapt to instead of two days. We are just going to focus on what we do and try to make it as much like the other tournaments we’ve had as possible.”So far, that recipe has been one for success and Rudolfsson said he only sees PHCC’s game getting sharper as a team ahead of May’s nationals.“Everybody is going to continue to work on their own stuff, that’s what we’ve been doing so far with success,” Rudolfsson said. “Everyone has been working on their game individually to make sure they play the best they can, and that’s going to work out for the team in the end.

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