After a successful fall campaign, the golf team was not about to hibernate for the winter.
The Owls had a lot of work to do during their five-month gap between tournaments. Plenty of practice and conditioning has the team rounded into form for its spring tournament slate.
“The team has a lot of confidence now moving into the spring,” junior Eric Plisko said. “We got a lot of big events. Everyone’s playing well, [and] we will see what happens. I see good things for us.”
In the fall, the Owls won their first tournament since 2005, edging off 14 other schools to claim the Philadelphia Big 5 Invitational. The Cherry and White also had a second-place finish at the St. Bonaventure Invitational and a tie for fourth at the McLaughlin tournament.
Senior co-captain Kevin Busteed attributes the program’s drastic rise to second-year coach Brian Quinn.
“Enough can’t be said for what he’s done, to be honest,” Busteed said. “Being here with the prior coach and then coming in and seeing [Quinn] now it’s just night and day. All we do is talk about winning golf tournaments, raising the expectations, getting better [and] thinking smarter.”
Quinn played collegiate golf at Temple and won 17 professional tournaments during his career. He also owns the BQ Golf Academy in Conshohocken, Pa. The indoor facility serves as the team’s unofficial hub and has been the Owls’ offseason shelter during the winter months.
Leading the Owls into the spring will be Plisko and Busteed, who both produced impressive fall scoring averages. Plisko notched a 73.1 average, while Busteed finished at 73.2. The numbers were good enough for second and third, respectively, in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
A pair of notable sophomores should factor into the team’s lineup on a regular basis. Quinn has a high regard for Andrew Mason, who played “excellent” in the team’s recent spring break trip to Florida.
Sophomore transfer Mark Edmondson did not tee it up for Temple in 2008 but looks to be a staple in the lineup for the spring. At Hofstra, he had a 77 stroke average and has been committed to improving his body.
Senior co-captain Adam Pifer will bring his outstanding length and experience to the squad as well.
The Owls typically play 18 holes Monday through Wednesday at Squires Country Club in Ambler, Pa. Other practices are spent tweaking swings at the Academy. To improve body shape, the team runs four miles three to four times per week. All this is geared toward the team’s demanding upcoming schedule.
“It’s probably one of the best schedules in the country this spring,” Quinn said. “But our goal is to be prepared and ready to have the opportunity to win in the [A-10] Tournament in Florida.”
The Owls open their season March 23 at the First Market Bank Intercollegiate tournament in Williamsburg, Va. From there, the team travels to Greenville, S.C., for the Furman Intercollegiate tournament March 27-29 to compete against one of the deepest fields in the country.
The schedule culminates April 24-26 with the Owls’ ultimate goal – an A-10 Championship. Quinn said his players’ offseason dedication is on par with the rest of the conference. He also doesn’t buy into the notion that southern schools have an advantage because they play outdoors year-round.
“The kids on our team have as much talent and as much ability as any one of those kids,” Quinn said. “Once they get that view of that and realize that they can stack up with their talents and all their abilities, I think that will give them a lot of confidence.”
The Owls may be staring down another season of improved play. A balanced squad, married with a positive mentality, has the team not just thinking about winning but executing it as well.
Anthony Stipa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.