The NCAA Division II national golf championships begin Monday on the Fighting Joe course at Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Columbus State is one of 20 teams that will start 54 holes of stroke play Monday. The top eight team will then advance to three rounds of match play. The winner will be determined Friday.
Three of the five players Columbus State men's golf coach Mark Immelman will start in the NCAA Division II tournament today are from South Africa, where match play in a standard format for amateur tournaments.
It is for that reason that Immelman likes the format.
“I feel like the format suits us,” Immelman said. “ We have some experience, so I like our chances, I really do.”
The three South Africans on the team are Rourke Van der Spuy, Stephen Swanepoel and Justin Grice. Joining them on the team are Jeremy Britt, who went to South Gwinnett High in Snellville, Ga., and Stephen Woodill, who played at Columbus High.
Van deer Spuy and Swanepoel like the format as well.
“I think since three of the five of us are from South Africa I think it is huge advantage,” Swanepoel said. “We obviously feel very comfortable in a match-play situation. It is just a question of getting into that top eight and qualifying as high as possible. Then it will be our tournament to lose.”
Immelman talked about each of his players:
Van der Spuy — “Transfer from troy, first year with us, real gentleman, good player, real solid. He has had a good season so far.”
Swanepoel — “Natural leader on our team, a real talent. he has been playing injured over the last little bit. he is showing his leadership capacity. he has been playing with his elbow injury because he knows we have a shot. Both of those guys are tremendous players.”
Grice — “He has come on in leaps and bounds this year. He came in as a first year last year and showed some improvement, was decent. But this year he has started to show his best.”
Woodill — “Local product. fiercely determined, intense young man. Good game for a young man. He has a great future in front of him. He has become a real impact player. He really is a fixture.”
Britt — “He led us in the regional last week. very reliable from tee to green. a senior who has been around me for four years. brings relaxed feel to the team because he is so easy-going. he is good for the team.”