The Lipscomb Bisons golf team doesn’t have a senior player this season, but coach Buddy Harston is excited with the competitiveness of his young team.
Cody Hale, who made the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team last season, is the biggest loss. Parker Beck, another top golfer from last year, is back with the team, but this season he is serving as a graduate assistant coach.
“We are a very competitive team,” Harston said. “We are more competitive than we were last year.”
The four-course total scores posted during last week’s qualifying are the reasons for Harston’s optimism. Cory Parkinson, a junior, led the way at 12-under par. Junior Clint Suggs was second at a plus-four. Junior Chad Rush was third at seven-over. Sophomore Brandon Mundie, a walk-on last year, was eight-over-par. Junior Sam Marcrom was 10-over.
The courses they played were Temple Hills, Country Creek in Franklin, Ky. (owned by pro golfer Kenny Perry), Harpeth Hills and Greystone in Dickson.
“It is a good bunch,” Harston said. “All five of those guys are into golf. It’s not just about being on the team. They want to play golf. You can see that the top five in the qualifying spent more time on their games this past summer than the rest of the guys.
“Cory is the leader of the team, not only because he is the best player. He just works the hardest.”
Monday and Tuesday the team faces its first challenge in the Fall Kick-Off Invitational hosted by Morehead State University at Wasioto Winds Golf Course in Pineville, Ky. The teams will play 36 continuous holes Monday and 18 holes Tuesday.
Rush has shown great improvement over last season.
“He put four good, solid rounds together,” Harston said. “He has always had the potential. He has always had a good swing. He needed to polish it up.”
Harston was also pleasantly surprised by freshman William Mayfield. He did not qualify for the tournament, but after shooting an 85 on the first day at Temple Hills he finished up with a 71 at Greystone on the last day to finish seventh.
“He was a little nervous on the first day,” Harston said.
Another freshman Harston will be watching closely is Dylan Waters.
“Dylan is going to be fine once he settles down,” Harston said.
Harston compares Parkinson to Hale, especially in the way they handle the short game.
“If you are on a college team you can hit the ball,” Harston said. “But the difference between shooting 78 to 82 and 68 to 72 is the short game which is the 100-yard game, the chipping around the green.
“Parkinson has our best short game. Both Cody and Cory are great ball strikers. Anyone can get hot for one day, but to shoot four rounds on four different courses like Cory did then you have to have a good short game.”
The Bisons won two tournaments last spring and finished second in two.
Also in the field for the Fall Kick-Off are Belarmine, John A. Logan, Northern Kentucky, Southern Illinois, Tennessee-Martin and Walters State.