After a solid fall season, the East Carolina University men’s golf team's start to the spring season was a bit rocky. ECU was only able to participate in three tournaments before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The season as a whole got off to a good start in the fall,” head coach Andrew Sapp said. “The spring surprisingly did not start off well even though it was tournaments that key guys have played in and have done well in before.”
The Pirates started the season off by tying for 12th place at the Sea Best Invitational.
Senior Blake Taylor had a solid tournament and was the top finished for the Pirates, posting a final round score of 69 to move up 11 spots into a tie for 22nd.
The Pirates headed to Palmer, Puerto Rico to take part in the Puerto Rico Classic. ECU couldn’t find any consistency outside of senior Patrick Stephenson who finished tied for 13th place. Sophomore A.J.Beechler finished the tournament tied for 59th at 8-over 224 (75-78-71).
Also for the Pirates, Blake Taylor tied for 61st. Sophomore Attie Giles tied for 69th at 16-over 232 (79-76-77). As a team the Pirates finished the Puerto Rico Classic coming in 15th place.
Following Puerto Rico, ECU headed to Myrtle Beach for the General Hackler Championship tournament. ECU finished the tournament tied for 13th.
The Pirates were scheduled to host the next tournament, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak the NCAA canceled all spring sports, bringing the season to an early end.
“We looked forward to the home tournament,” Sapp said. “Golf is different from the other sports where you have multiple home games. We have one and it is like our senior night. More seniors who don’t play as much were going to get more time.”
Due to the shortened season the NCAA has granted seniors an extra year of eligibility if they wish to return.
The Pirates have a pair of seniors that could return next season in Stephenson and Taylor. Coach Sapp talked on how Stephenson looks to return to the team and play while he finished graduate school.
Sapp also mentioned that he believes Taylor will return, although he has yet to decide. He believes his other option would be to turn pro.
“It left a bitter taste, coming off spring break break, I gave the guys a few days off before the home tournament...The sad part was I wasn't with my team and I haven't seen some of them since,” Sapp said.
The season was not what anyone expected. But with key players possibly making their return for another season, the golf team will have high hopes of starting off strong whenever the new season begins.