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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Men’s golf season preview:

Josh McCollum attempts to bury a shot at the Western Washington Invitational in this archived photo. Image courtesy of Chico State Athletics

Chico State men’s golf reloaded its roster for another high-performance year. As a nationally recognized team, Chico State men’s golf is hoping to maintain the skills that helped them place as the number five team in all of Division II golf last year. This semester yields a new set of goals to help the team surpass last years record.

“I think every year you come in wanting to get the first event going and see where you stack up,” men’s golf coach Nick Green said. “We’ve been playing well, so I definitely am encouraged by what I’ve seen so far. Then it’s just transferring it from your practices and qualifying to play tournament golf.”

Even after saying farewell to five seniors from last year’s team, the team has no shortage of confidence in their ability to represent Chico State’s name proudly. The 2019 to 2020 team features a roster that many competitors have written off, as the team is comprised of several players without extensive competitive golf experience.

It is a different position compared to last years roster but the team is optimistic that they will surprise their competitors.

“It’s just a little different,” Green said. “You go from people having the bull’s-eye on you, but three years ago we had the same thing. We went out and won our first tournament, finished second the next one and won the third one.”

Chico State’s top two men’s golfers plan on making an impact this season. Nicholous Caputo and Christopher Colla are the seniors leaders of the team and will dictate how far the team goes. It’s in the seasons plan for these players to achieve their aspirations of being named an All-Americans.

“You have to go out there and do your part and in addition to that try to shepherd everybody else,” Colla said. “We’re gonna make this play here, we’re gonna try to be smart on this hole, attack these holes’, just get them thinking in the mindset of the team, of the seniors, so that when we’re gone, they’re gonna follow that right back down.”

To stay prepared for the upcoming season, it’s important for players to compete in individual tournaments throughout the summer.

Even more important than working on their stroke by themselves, competitive golf tournaments are the most effective way to stay sharp and improve their skills.

“I played a few tournaments in the summer,” Caputo said. “I’ve just been trying to keep my reps and stay competitive because that’s kind of what it comes down to. Take a summer off and you don’t have that competitive atmosphere. I played a couple tournaments and went deep in one of them, which personally set the tone for this season and gave me a lot of confidence.”

The team is excited for all of the road trips planned for the year which include trips to San Diego and Monterey Bay. One of the most anticipated tournaments for the year includes The Sierra Wildcat Classic here in Butte County, which the team will be hosting.

”I am also looking forward to the home tournament,” Colla said. “My mother is coming, so that’s cool. It’s at home so hopefully there will be a few spectators out there. We’re flying down to San Diego next semester, which is always fun.”

An element that the team hopes to integrate this season is basic camaraderie toward other teams. Golf can become a selfish and individualized sport if one focuses solely on their own improvement. It is something that can encourage friendly competition, which can strengthen the team.

“As far as team chemistry and working as a group…supporting each other is one way we can improve, (by) having more of that team sport,” Green said. “As far as golf is concerned, it’s always an individual sport, so you get some personality and ego. To be honest, it’s been refreshing so far the first few weeks here. We have a good unit, we have a good group of guys who are working hard and they support each other.”

Overall, this team is filled with excitement and optimism. They understand why other golf teams have ridiculed their roster, but it hasn’t taken away from the high standards being set for themselves. With a strong and competitive group of athletes on par, the men’s golf team is striving for another successful season.

Wesley Harris can be reached at [email protected] or @jiggy_wes on twitter.

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