Golf Ready to hit the Links

With the addition of a new coach and a women’s team and the loss of star golfer Evan Cox, the VWC Men’s and Women’s golf teams face many challenges this upcoming season.

Junior golfer Kevin Duffy looks forward to the team playing to its full potential this semester.

“I’m feeling anxious for this season. We didn’t have a good fall, to say the least, being the top ranked team at some events and not playing to that potential. I am waiting for the tournament that everything finally clicks for us and we play well and to our potential, which I believe will happen this semester,” Duffy said.

First-year Head Coach Rick Bidnick comes to VWC from the staff of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

The Men’s and Women’s golf teams will compete in their season opener on March 9 at the Beach Break Tournament, hosted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The men are led by freshmen Lance Wheeler, Carter Morgan and Jacob Laughlin, sophomores Seth Johnson and juniors Kevin Duffy and Peter Scrimgeour.

Although the women will not compete as a team this season, they will rely on freshman Maggie Kingora and sophomore Hannah Turner to lead them as the first female golfers in school history. While they are still adjusting to the process of forming a team, both Kingora and Turner still have their personal benefits to performing well this season.

“The benefits of being a first-year program would be that we get to go to every tournament on our schedule because we don’t have to qualify for them. Another benefit is that we have a legacy as the first women to start the women’s golf program at VWC. We have laid out the pathway for the future female golfers of VWC,” Turner said.

One of the biggest challenges the Marlins will face this year is learning to adapt to a new coaching staff. They have had to make adjustments to their typical practice schedules and how they function as a team.

“We love our coach and he loves us back. At practices he makes us work on specific things that normally will happen in events and how to prepare for it. It is very positive and relaxing when you know your coach has the utmost confidence in you even when you don’t yourself, and with Coach Bidnick I feel that he knows we are a good team and can do great things,” Duffy said.

The women’s team will not have to endure the pressure of competing as a team but instead have to start a legacy for the future female golfers of VWC. They will lay the foundation for generat ions of female golfers, an opportunity that is both exciting and challenging for the lone freshman and sophomore.

“Words cannot describe how happy I am. I have always known that I wanted to play a sport in college and this was before I had ever played golf. Once golf came into the picture, I knew that this was going to take me somewhere. This sport brought me to Virginia Wesleyan College. Regardless, when I visited I knew there was no women’s team, but I had every intention of helping this school start one. And now one year later, we have reached that goal and I couldn’t be happier.” Turner said.

If adapting to a new coach and adding in a women’s team wasn’t a big enough challenge, the Marlins will also have to recover on the course after losing national champion Evan Cox to the University of Kentucky. It will be a tremendous loss for the Marlins this season. However, the three incoming freshmen on the team, each of them scoring in top rankings during the fall season, including previously-mentioned Laughlin, will be a vital part of ensuring the team’s overall success.

“As a freshman I want to push the other guys to become better, and I also want to push myself to become better. I feel that we have a chance to make a run at an ODAC championship. We have some new faces that are going to make an impact and teams are really going to sleep on us,” Laughlin said.

Duffy is also hoping to make a strong impact on the success of the team.

“I want to be a leader this season and next, whether that is at an event at practice or around campus. I want to be a good example for our younger guys and girls as well as potential recruits so they feel comfortable with the team. My knowledge with golf and with tournaments should give me confidence to play the best I can and to encourage my teammates in every way possible,” Duffy said.

Amanda Archer