by Brian DeCandia, sports information student assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College golf program and head coach Jimmy Wilson look to mix the new with the old this season. The Bobcats return eight, while adding four newcomers to the roster.
“We graduated four All-Americans over the past two seasons,” said Wilson. “We are much younger this year but definitely not inexperienced. The guys we have coming back have all been there before and they are guys that will carry the torch.”
The ‘Cats come into the season with a streak of 14 straight NCAA National Tournament appearances on the line as they look towards this fall season.
“I don’t see our streak of National Tournament appearances coming to an end,” said Wilson. “I have plenty of confidence in this group of guys.”
The Bobcats only have one senior on the roster this season. Jeff Rives (Atlanta) is returning as a walk-on after a three year hiatus. Rives played as a freshman for the Bobcats but parted ways after his rookie season. Rives played in two tournaments including the Kiawah Island Invitational his freshman year, finishing plus-13, tied for 52nd place.
The Bobcats return three juniors to the squad. Bernardo Bide (Olavaria, Argentina) looks to make contributions to the Bobcats golf program this season. In 2010-11 he competed in three events, including a low-round of 71 at the Spring Hill Suites Invitational, where he finished tied for 11th. “Bide has as much talent as anyone on this squad and we are looking for him to make a solid contribution this season,” said Wilson.
Patrick Garrett (Kennesaw, Ga.) is a red-shirt junior looking to lead the Bobcats after taking First Team All-Peach Belt Conference honors last season and grabbing an individual victory at Valdosta State.
Taylor Smith (Mansfield, Ga.) competed in five events last season with a 75.2 stroke average. “Taylor has 10 or 12 tournaments under his belt,” said Wilson. “We are really looking for him to step up this season.”
Smith qualified for the United State Amateur Public Links Championship after winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links Qualifier, shooting a 69 and 68 on the 6,830-yard, par-72 course.
The ‘Cats return three golfers and one transfer. Pontus Andersson (Helsingborg, Sweden) is in his first season because of NCAA ineligibility reasons his freshman year. Bryan Fox (Roswell, Ga.) is a transfer from Division I Georgia State University. He qualified in the fifth spot for the Kiawah Island Invitational. Fox participated in one tournament for the Panthers, recording a low-round effort of 69.
Victor Monte (Chantilly, Va.) qualified in the fourth spot for the first tournament of the season. Gavin Harper (Twin City, Ga.) was Second Team All-Conference as a red-shirt freshman and looks to compete for the No. 1 spot on the team in 2011-12.
The Bobcats bring in four freshman, two red shirts and two newcomers. Josh Klipstein (Norcross, Ga.) is looking to compete as a freshman. “Josh is going to push the others to become better players,” said Wilson.
David Sullivan (Woodstock, Ga.) looks to make a splash this season. “David had a great summer in the amateur events and he’s ready to play,” said Wilson. Red shirt Ryan Trocchio (Norcross, Ga.) was injured last year but qualified in the three slot to start this young season. Tyler Tucker (Cochran, Ga.) is also a red shirt and looks to follow in the footsteps of Cochran native, Joe Young.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.