This time last year the Towson men's golf team was merrily on the way to Pinehurst, N.C. to defend its 2010 Colonial Athletic Association championship but things are a little different for the Tigers this spring.
For one, the trip won't take as long. The 2012 CAA tournament is a short hop up I-95 to the Wilmington Country Club in Wilmington, Del. And, the Tigers are the not the defending team champ - UNC Wilmington is bearing that responsibility. (How ironic would it be for those North Carolina Seahawks to retain the title in the Blue Hens state's Wilmington?)
But it's tourney time when Tiger coach Brian Yaniger knows anything can happen and anything is possible if his guys put three solid rounds together.
"We're playing to win the tournament," Yaniger says, "not to have the great looking golf swings. Unless you are the conference champion you wind up with the same result as everyone else who doesn't win - you're not getting the NCAA bid."
The team champ of this 54-hole event will earn the league's automatic berth to the NCAA post-season. That's the nugget all 11 teams will be chasing this Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the monstrous WCC South Course that plays 7,334 yards. Par is 71.
It's a challenge for the Tigers who have just one top five finish this year when they placed fourth back in October at the Joe Agee. Towson's five CAA players are averaging 77.6 entering the tourney. Last year Towson rode into this event on a hot streak of three consecutive second place finishes that included a 66-7 record. Its five tourney players averaged a combined 75.6. However, things didn't go Towson's way. The Tigers finished a disappointing ninth.
Sophomore Matt Fry is the only Towson player with any CAA tournament experience. He placed 40th last year (78-81-81-240 +24). His 76.3 overall average for 2011-12 leads the Tigers.
Fry and sophomore Joe Gunerman are the only two Tigers who have played every event this year. Gunerman takes a 77.1 average into this weekend.
Play will consist of three rounds, 18 holes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with split tee starts off #1 and #10 beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day. Admission is free at the course, or fans can follow the action on Live Scoring available through caasports.com and golfstat.com.