First-year Lipscomb men’s golf coach Will Brewer isn’t wasting any time in re-branding the program.
Monday and Tuesday the Bisons will be in Westlake Village, Calif., for the North Ranch Intercollegiate, a 12-team tournament featuring some of the top programs in the nation.
“It is really exciting for us as a team and university because we are going to be competing against three or four of the top teams in the country right out of the box,” Brewer said. “We are going out there to play on a beautiful golf course with one of the highest, if not the highest, level of competition the university has ever competed against in golf.
“It is a great opportunity for us to see great talent and measure ourselves against that talent. It will also help our RPI.”
The Bisons are coming off a successful fall campaign with two seconds and a third.
“We need more exposure,” Brewer said. “We need to re-brand our program and it is going to be a better brand if we go to tournaments like this.”
The Bisons have spent a great deal of time practicing outside despite temperatures in the 30s and 40s on most days.
“The guys tell me they are more prepared for this event than they have been in the past both mentally and physically,” Brewer said. “We have been limited by weather that has been cold and wet. We have been limited a little by facilities. But we have gone through the process of trying to prepare the best we can.”
One of the key areas of emphasis for Brewer has been to bolster the confidence of his players. He wants them to build off of their success this fall and realize fully what they can do as players.
“We want them to step up out there and say, `hey, I’m prepared’,” Brewer said. “The holes are the same size on every golf course. The players on the other teams put their pants on the same way we do.
“They are just like us. They are doing everything that we do every day. Yes, it is sunny California. Yes, the teams in the tournament are very talented. But all we have to do is go out and give our best effort on every shot and I will be satisfied.”
Brewer is quick to point out that the team is growing, maturing and getting better with each passing week. This tournament, regardless of where the Bisons finish, is another step in that growth pattern.
“Our expectation level is not to compete on a day-to-day basis with teams like USC that are ranked eighth in the country,” Brewer said. “But we are on the stairway and the path to get to that point.
“I don’t know how long it is going to take to get there. But this team is excited and prepared after a good fall to compete well.”
Brewer has high expectations for the team, but he is particularly interested in how sophomore Paul Kleine- Kracht and senior Alex Cox perform in this tournament.
“Alex realizes that he has about eight weeks left and then he starts his career,” Brewer said. “He has spent a lot of time working and he has made a few little adjustments in his putting and his overall game. He is a lot more confident now.
“Paul has a lot of good work habits. If he doesn’t try too hard he will have a good event.”
Brewer also likes the improvements he has seen from senior Blanton Farmer, junior Ryan Terry and junior Dustin Wilder.
“I feel confident about the whole team,” Brewer said. “They focused on their weaknesses and they got better in the fall. They know they have the opportunity to play well.
“They see the structure. They see the importance of repetition. We try to put them in a competitive situation every day. I think they believe they are better now. Hopefully, everything will culminate this spring at the conference championships.”
TOURNAMENT: North Ranch Intercollegiate
COURSE: North Ranch Country Club; Westlake Village, Calif.
PAR/YARDAGE: Par 71, 6,753 yards
DATES: Monday-Tuesday, February 25-26, 2013
CO-HOSTS: Pepperdine and USC
Sunday (February 24): practice rounds
Monday (February 25): 36 holes, shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. CST
Tuesday (February 26): 18 holes, tee times off No. 1 and No. 10 at 9:30 a.m. CST
TEAMS SCHEDULED TO COMPETE (12): Pepperdine, USC, Arizona State, Brigham Young, Liberty, Lipscomb, San Diego, San Diego State, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and Western Kentucky.
RESULTS: Live scoring at www.golfstat.com.