Columbus State golfer Robert Mize is missing his shots a little better, and thats made a difference in his game down the stretch.
Now, as he and the Cougars begin play on Monday at the NCAA Division-II Championship in Hershey, Penn., the Brookstone School product hopes it will continue.
It sounds odd to discuss how well a player makes mistakes, but Mize stressed its importance in his improved game on the course.
Youre only as good as your misses, said Mize, son of former Masters champion, Larry Mize. In golf, 95 percent of the time, you dont have your A-game. Youre rarely clicking with everything, but day in and day out you just have to get it around and in the hole.
That has been effective of late for the redshirt freshman, who transferred into Columbus State from Furman University before this season. He has the third best stroke average on the team at 74.3 and was the teams top finisher at the regional competition, firing a three-round score of 6-over par.
Coach Mark Immelman said that Mizes play over the latter part of the season is what really pushed his team over the top and into the final competition.
Hes really been the guy, Immelman said. He kept us afloat for awhile, and weve really relied on him to shoot some good rounds for us, and he has.
Immelman said he was lucky because he had a handful of golfers whose stroke averages were all in the same neighborhood. Mize has the third-best average on the team, but is more than capable of firing the lowest rounds as he did overall and in the first two rounds of the regional.
The same can be said for the other golfers, Jesse Gibson, Yannick Gumowski, Bryan Lichimo and Jack Stumpfig.
Im confident in all of them, Immelman said. Were as deep through five as anyone in the country. Our issue is putting 54 holes together, which comes from a lack of experience.
Mize said the same, but also said he liked his teams chances to put it together this week.
Were a little under the radar, but I think if we can get into match play, which is the top eight, we can be tough to beat, he said. Were such a deep team. Everyones right around the same ability. Thats different than some other teams that have a few good players but arent as deep. I think thats where well have an advantage.
If we play well and make match play, well be a tough out.
Columbus State has won six times in the past, second most in the country. Florida Southern leads all teams with 12 titles. The Cougars also have had the individual champion six times, tied with Florida Southern for the national lead.
Neither Mize nor Immelman knew much about the course, Hershey Country Club, but Mize said he expected a challenge.
We dont know too much, he said. Were playing a practice round (on Sunday). Itll definitely be a challenge, but were excited. Weve played well on tough courses throughout the season.
It wont be easy, Immelman said of the course. Im confident in all of them, though. Im comfortable with their ability to handle the conditions. Were expecting good weather, moderate temperatures, so I know theyll be able to do well. Were looking forward to it, and I really think theyre capable of winning.
David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David on Twitter @leprepsports.