Golden Eagle Golfers Look to Extend Momentum into Spring Season
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (March 11, 2013) - In its last tournament of the fall season, the Golden Eagles achieved two program records as freshman Stephen Allen’s two-day total of 144 launched John Brown to a share of the Sterling College Warrior Invite title, also another program-first.
Allen’s freshman counterpart, Sam Greenleaf, turned in a 145-stroke performance, placing him in a tie for second place individually. These freshman sensations are the future of a bright program.
“All four freshman are really big parts of the future of the golf program,” said head coach Brian Thomas. “During the past four years, the program had one person win a golf tournament as an individual. This past fall, Stephen won a tournament and Sam finished second at the same tournament, something that has never been done at JBU. All four freshman were part of the team when we had our best 18 and 36-hole score total.
“I am really excited to see what they can do after playing together for a few years. I also consider Aaron and Tommy newcomers as well. Both did not play much during their freshman season, however they are working hard and getting better every day. They will play a major role in the success of the program.”
Allen hails from Muskogee, Okla., while his partners, Greenleaf and Connor reed are natives of Broken Arrow, Okla., and Huntsville, Ark., respectively.
Joining the trio of first-years are three sophomores, Aaron Dickinson, Max Gordon and Tommy Wright. Dickinson is a native of Bergman, Ark., while Gordon originates from Flower Mount, Texas. Wright, of Harrison, Ark., completed the scoring for John Brown at the Warrior Invite at 165.
“Being so young, I really felt like I needed someone to step up and be a leader,” Thomas admitted. “I feel like Nathan and Tommy have really embraced that role. Both have really tried to help the younger guys not only on the golf course but off as well. I think they have learned that being a leader is not easy and you make mistakes and tough decisions but they have learned from those and will continue to be great leaders in the future.”
The lone senior on this spring’s squad is Nathan Sudheimer, who at the fall-opening Southwestern Christian Tournament, carded a career-best 71 through the first round, helping the Golden Eagles land a sixth-place finish at the tournament. The previous season, John Brown finished last, marking a startling improvement.
“We are a young team with Nathan being the only senior,” said Thomas of the Harrisonville, Ark., native. “Even the two sophomores don't have that much experience so I expect both the sophomores and freshman to continue to gain experience playing college golf while learning every day and every tournament.
“Nathan has played all the golf courses that we are playing this spring. I think that will really help with his confidence and also help with the young guys as well. It takes a few times of playing a new course to really understand it. His experience and knowledge will help them when practicing and getting ready for each tournament.”
JBU kicks off its spring season with a tournament hosted by future conference member Texas Wesleyan in Westworth Village, Texas, on March 11-12. After a two-week hiatus, the Golden Eagles return to the green in Maumelle, Ark., at the Central Baptist Spring Invitational on Mark 25-26.
The slate of tournaments becomes increasingly difficult as John Brown travels to the Southwestern Christian Spring Tournament in Oklahoma City from April 9-10. The spring season wraps up with the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament in Ardmore, Okla., from April 22-23.
“The most difficult tournament would be our conference tournament,” conceded Thomas. “With several teams being ranked in the top-25 and the national champion coming from our conference the last six years, it is by far the toughest field we will play against.”
Despite his green squad and difficult slate of tournament laid before him, Thomas is encouraged with the direction the Golden Eagles are headed.
“We get into playing more conference teams in the spring and just like any sport in the SAC, our conference is one of the toughest in the country. So we know that the competition is not going to be easy.
“I am very excited about the spring season. We finished the fall season very strong, and I feel like the team now has the confidence to compete in and win tournaments. I look forward to witnessing how we build on the fall season.”