There’s nothing like a little consistency to cure a suspect golf game, and that’s what UNC Charlotte men’s coach Ryan Cabbage is looking for as the 49ers head into the final weeks of the season.
The 49ers have two regular-season tournaments left before the Conference USA Championships, and one will be on one of their home courses.
The 49ers will co-host the Irish Creek Intercollegiate April 5-6 at The Club at Irish Creek. Charlotte practices at the Kannapolis course once or twice a week between weekend tournaments.
The Charlotte Sports Foundation and Davidson College will help the 49ers welcome 14 other teams from around the country. North Carolina teams scheduled to compete are Appalachian State, Duke, East Carolina, UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington and Wake Forest.
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Charlotte finished tied for third at last year’s Irish Creek Intercollegiate, while Davidson tied for fifth. UNC Chapel Hill won the 54-hole event with a plus-8, a score of 860.
The 49ers are coming off a 12th-place finish at last weekend’s Linger Longer Invitational in Greensboro, Ga. This spring, Charlotte has finishes of eight, ninth and 12th in some very competitive tournaments.
“This team is really close to playing well,” said Cabbage, Charlotte’s third-year coach. “We’ve played well at times, and other times we’ve struggled. Overall, we have had opportunities to be a really good team.
“We have an important few weeks as we sprint to the end with the final stretch of the regular season.”
In its other tournaments since the winter break, both with 15-team fields, Charlotte finished eighth at the Bayou City Intercollegiate and ninth at the Auburn Tiger Shootout.
Franco Castro is one of the team’s two seniors and its most consistent player. In six tournaments in fall, Castro was the 49ers’ top player in three and second-best in two. Between the fall and spring seasons, Castro leads the team with a 72.86 stroke average.
Cabbage said he also has been pleased with Raoul Menard’s play. Mendard, a junior averaging 73.52, often finishes directly behind Castro in Charlotte’s lineup.
Most of the time, Charlotte plays with three underclassmen in its five-player lineup. Sophomore Riley Davenport has emerged as a solid third player, posting the best Charlotte finish at the Auburn Tiger Shootout in February.
Cabbage said a home tournament may ease pressure enough so it is possible so Charlotte turns in its best rounds of the year, but said he intends to warn his team against being too familiar with the course.
“It’s always nice to play at home,” said Cabbage, but “it brings its challenges as well. We’re still accustomed to going on the road and learning those courses. I try to stress to the guys to play the same Irish Creek course we play all the time. Don’t over-think things.”
The 49ers will finish the regular season at the Robert Kepler Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, on April 12-13. The Conference USA Championships will be held April 27-29 in Edmond, Okla.
The Charlotte men’s and women’s track and field teams had several solid performances at the Charlotte 49er Classic last weekend. Winning their events were redshirt sophomore Anthony Bynum (400 meters), redshirt sophomore K’Vonte Scott (decathlon), senior Briauna Jones (triple jump) and senior Katrina Wright (discus and hammer throw).
The women’s tennis team won its fourth straight home match March 22 by slipping past Western Carolina 4-3. Juniors Lisa Grosselius and Natsuko Takayanagi and freshman Macy Vonderschmidt all picked up singles wins. Charlotte also took the doubles point.