APSU Sports Information
Muscle Shoals, AL – Although Austin Peay State University men’s golf team has won eight Ohio Valley Conference championships, it will seek its first under Robbie Wilson when it competes, Monday-Wednesday, in the league championship tournament at The Shoals on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama.
The 54-hole men’s championship will be competed on the par-72 Fighting Joe course, a 7,258-yard layout, with 74.0 slope and 135 course ratings.
The men’s golf championship features 11 teams: APSU, defending champion Eastern Kentucky, Belmont, Eastern Illinois, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State, SIU Edwardsville, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin.
After a practice round, Sunday, the teams will tee off on Monday morning at 8:00am, with APSU’s first-day tee time at 9:40am as a result of last year’s fifth-place finish. This is the fourth time the OVC has held the championship at The Fighting Joe.
“The OVC has had quite a bit of parity the last few years, the same with this year,” said Wilson, the second-year head coach. “There are probably seven or eight teams that could win this week including us. I like the fact that four of the five guys competing, played in the event last year.”
In fact, the quartet of seniors Chris Baker and Austin Kramer along with junior Erik Hedberg and sophomore Justin Arens all played in last season’s tournament—it is Baker’s fourth time playing in the OVC championship and third on The Fighting Joe. Only senior Tyler Phillips has failed to compete on the course.
After an uneven fall, the Governors showed consistent spring improvement, playing a wide variety of difficult courses. Baker leads the Govs with a 73.90 scoring average followed by Kramer’s 74.43 and Arens’ 74.88. Erik Hedberg holds a 75.57 scoring average while Phillips is at 75.93. Wilson believes his Governors are prepared to challenge for the title.
“We played a very challenging schedule this year on great golf courses and that was intentional,” Wilson said. “I think we are very prepared for this event and the challenge of this course won’t surprise us. Our guys are as prepared as ever and we will just try and play our game.”
But Wilson knows the Govs’ ability to execute shots on the long course will be essential to their success along with adapting to greens that permitted a multitude of birdies during last season’s final round.
“The course is long but fair,” Wilson said. “The par 3s can be challenging if the wind blows. We have plenty of length off the tee so that will not be a problem. Our key is driving the ball well, hitting greens and minimizing any damage we have during the rounds.”
The annual awards banquet will be held following Monday’s first-round play. The banquet will honor the 10-member All-OVC team as well as the All-Newcomer Team and Freshman of the Year. The OVC Player of the Year, Coach of the Year as well as all-tournament and tournament MVP awards will be presented at championship conclusion.
Live scoring results from each day of the championship can be accessed through www.Golfstat.com