HIGH POINT, N.C. - The Belmont Abbey College men’s golf team was selected the Conference Carolinas preseason favorite as voted on by leagues head coaches coming into the spring season. The Abbey currently ranked 23rd nationally after starting this past fall 41st overall. Barton and Queens round out the top three while Pfeiffer University came in fifth.
Belmont Abbey enters the spring season on a high note after a solid 2011 fall season that saw the Crusaders capture three top five finishes in four tournaments, including a pair of second place finishes at the CenturyLink Invitational and the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate. The Abbey earned a fourth-place effort at the season-opening Kiawah Invitational.
Junior Adam Hedges, who advanced past the first stage of qualification for last year’s British Open, is ranked 11th nationally in scoring average with a 71.44 average. The Crusaders have advanced to the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons and will look to make it six straight this spring.
Barton College returns four starters from a team that was nationally ranked all season and advanced to the National Quarterfinals. Barton, preseason No. 11 nationally in the Nike Golf/Golf World Coaches Poll, won three times and finished in the top five in all 12 tournaments last season. The Bulldogs, who won the CenturyLink Invitational this fall, will be led by 2011 Conference Carolinas Player of the Year Daniel Claytor, 2011 Southeast Regional champ Michael Marshburn and 2011 Conference Freshman of the Year Dermot McElhennon. Claytor was named All-American and Marshburn was an Honorable Mention All-American. Head Coach John Hackney has added four new talented players to his roster, so he expects Barton to have a great spring.
“Our league is again very good, and with the addition of King and North Greenville, I think you will see Conference Carolinas making even more inroads on the regional and national golf scenes this year,” said Hackney, who is also the conference golf chairperson.
Queens is coming off a great 2011 season where they won the conference title. They also took advantage of the fall season taking the time to get a lot of practice in to work on getting better with a number of fresh faces. C.J. Deberg is expected to lead though as he continues his great play in his senior season after becoming the second player in Queens’ golf history to win the individual medal at the conference tournament in 2011. Deberg completed the tournament with a one-over-par, three-round score of 217.
Rounding out the golf preseason poll 4-10 was: Coker, Pfeiffer, King, Mount Olive, Erskine, Limestone, and North Greenville respectively.
Conference Carolinas Preseason Coaches Poll (First Place Votes)
1. Belmont Abbey - (5) 76
2. Barton - (5) 75
3. Queens - 53
4. Coker - 51
5. Pfeiffer - 48
6. King - 45
7. Mount Olive - 35
8. Erskine - 28
9. Limestone - 21
10. North Greenville - 18