High Point, NC- The Barton College men's golf team has been selected as the Conference Carolinas favorite by league coaches heading into the 2010 spring season. The Bulldogs, the defending conference champs, are currently ranked No. 5 nationally in the Nike/Golf World Coaches poll and No. 6 in the Golfstat poll after posting a 48-2 head-to-head record in the fall.
Barton, will be led by former DIII All-American and DII All-Southeast Region performer Tom Muto Jr., finished third of 21 teams at Columbus State's fall event beating eight teams in the top ten. The Bulldogs followed that showing with victories in the Queens Invitational at the TPC of Sawgrass and the Will Wilson Southeast Regional Preview at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C. Muto, a senior who finished in the top three of all four fall events, is ranked fifth individually among DII players in scoring at 70.7 through nine rounds and 27th among all NCAA golfers. He is complemented by senior Stephen Harrison, a 2009 U.S Amateur participant, and junior Daniel Castleberry, a DII All-American. That trio was joined by sophomore David Boyce and freshman Daniel Claytor in Barton's fall lineup. Barton averaged 72.39 for its low four individuals (2nd-best nationally) in the fall and features seven players averaging 70 to 74.
"We had a tremendous fall season," 13th-year Barton head coach John Hackney said. "The guys are working very hard and are looking forward to backing it up with a great spring. It's just fun to see how the talent level in our league keeps getting better and better each season. There are really a lot of great players teeing it up each week."
Belmont Abbey College was picked second by the Conference Carolinas coaches and currently ranks No. 11 in the Golfstat DII national poll. The Abbey men's golf team enjoyed four top-five finishes in four fall tournaments, including a tie for third at the NCAA Southeast Regional Preview at Tanglewood Park Golf Course, which will also play host to the Conference Carolinas Championships for the second-straight year. Seniors Joe Campbell and Stephen Keane and junior Peter Tarver Jones will lead the Abbey's efforts in the spring which also received significant contributions from freshman John Frisby.
Coker College is ranked third in the pre season poll. Coker enters the 2010 spring season after a solid fall season, where they finished in the top ten in three tournaments, posting a 290.6 scoring average. The Cobras are led by reigning Conference Carolinas Player of the Year Chris Marsh and reigning conference Coach of the Year Tommy Baker. Coach Baker is hoping his team can continue their strong performance in the spring especially with the return of senior Jimmy Gillam, who missed the entire fall season. Also helping the Cobras this season are junior Second Team All-Conference selection John LaDow, sophomore All-Tournament selection Diego Polo, sophomore Jared Crane and freshman newcomer Jake Murphy.
Rounding out the golf preseason poll 4-11 was: Mount Olive, Queens, Pfeiffer, Anderson, St. Andrews, Limestone, Erskine, and Lees-McRae respectively.
Conference Carolinas Pre-Season Coaches’ Poll
(First place votes in parentheses)