2013-14 Most Improved Teams - Men's Golf|
July 8, 2014
As part of the University of Cincinnati Athletics annual awards, GoBEARCATS.com will recognize three of the department's programs as most improved during the 2013-14 year from July 8-10. Today, the series opens with the men's golf team.
The improvement shown by Head Coach Doug Martin's men's golf team can be shown in one number - 123. That represents the number of spots the Bearcats climbed in the GolfStat rankings from the end of the 2012-13 season to the end of the 2013-14 campaign, finishing in the nation's top 100 for the first time in program history.
Led by a mixture of gifted returners, such as Jared Howard and Emerson Newsome, and valuable additions such as Baxter Reeves, John Michael O'Toole and Jared O'Kelley, the Bearcats won the Cleveland State Invitational in the fall and posted an average team score of 291.06 for the season, the lowest in school history. Six players (Howard, Reeves, O'Kelley, O'Toole, Newsome and Brennan Walsh) posted season-low rounds below 70, while five golfers (Howard, Reeves, O'Kelley, O'Toole and Newsome) posted a season average below 75.0.
Martin feels the biggest reason for the improvement was consistency.
"For the first time since I've coached here we had five players that were contributing every week and we had consistency amongst those five players," Martin said. "When you have five players and your lowest stroke average is 72.86 and your highest is 74.46 there is a lot of consistency there and I think that's what really changes for us."
That consistency enabled UC to finish in the top five at nine of the 12 tournaments they competed in during the season.
The Turning Point
Paced by Howard, the Bearcats posted a 29-under par 835 to win the Cleveland State Invitational, their first team title since 2008. Howard placed second individually at the tournament, shooting a 9-under 207 to finish one stroke behind the medalist. All five Bearcats ranked among the top 25 on the individual leaderboard.
"We finished with a 130-40-2 record for the year and beat Louisville's team score in two of the three rounds at the conference tournament. We also beat a top-40 Memphis team as well as Florida and Ole Miss - teams we have never beaten before. Those things tell me we are on the cusp, but we need to keep getting better." - Doug Martin
To read a complete recap of the 2013-14 men's golf season, click here, or watch the season review with Coach Martin below.