Written by Shane Thomas
The Valdosta State golf team looks to bounce back in the Buccaneer Invitational on April 1 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
In last week’s Bobcat Invitational, the Blazers finished 16th out 17 teams after shooting a final round 303.
Despite the disappointment, VSU Head Coach Jared Purvis maintains that the psyche of his team remains very good.
“The guys are still upbeat,” Purvis said. ”They were able to take a few days off for spring break—just re-energize themselves. They’ve been working hard at it for the last two days and I’m sure they’ll continue to work hard at it.”
While Purvis is pleased with his team catching its collective breath, he stresses the importance of remaining loose on the tee.
“You don’t have to have the mindset that you’ve gotta shoot a 66 every time you tee it up,” Purvis said. “We need to just worry about keeping it in play and just hitting good, solid shots and giving ourselves good chances at birdies.”
“The biggest thing is just to remind them that they are good golfers—they can’t let one bad tournament get them down.”
Last season, the Blazers fought their way to a 12th place finish out of 14 teams in the Buccaneer Invitational. Purvis understands what lies ahead as his team looks to avoid a repeat of last season.
“It’s a tournament that hasn’t been very good for us,” Purvis said. “[The course] is a different type of grass, different conditions—it’s a very good golf course so we’re gonna play an extra practice round down there to get accustomed to it.”
The weather forecast for the event indicates warm, humid conditions. According to Weather.com, it will be 81 degrees in Miami with 73 percent humidity and a 30 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms.
“It’s gonna be a nice change from what we’ve played in all spring,” Purvis said. “We’ve dealt with a lot of wind, a lot of rain—it’s been quite chilly out so we’re excited to go somewhere where it’s 80, 85 degrees.”
With top teams such as Nova Southeastern, Barry and Lynn University being heavily favored, Purvis readily embraces the underdog role heading into the tournament.
“You don’t have the attention on you that other schools will have on them,” Purvis said. “It’s up to our guys to have the mindset that we’re trying to go out there and prove that we are just as good as them.”
The Blazers will also have experience working in their favor, as the roster features three seniors—Nate Anderson, Clarke Hendrick and Drew McGuire—and three juniors in Austin Graham, Collin Ho and Abdul Sihag.
“This is the first time where all five of our guys have actually played this course before,” Purvis said. “With this course, all of our guys can be very successful.”
The Buccaneer Invitational begins on Monday, April 1 at Normandie Shores Golf Club in Miami Gardens, Fla., and concludes on April 2.