“It is a feather in our caps to get invited,” said Lipscomb golf coach Buddy Harston.
The men’s teams will play on the South Course, formerly known as Roper’s Knob. It is a par -71, 7,100-yard course. This will be the first tournament of the fall season for the Bisons.
“We have known this was coming up for the last three months,” said Harston. “I e-mailed them and told them to get ready. The way they worked and prepared this past summer will determine how they play this fall.
“I think the South Course is more challenging than the North Course. There are some long par fours on there.”
In addition to Lipscomb and the host Vanderbilt team, the other members of the 17-team field are Akron, Arkansas State, Belmont, Charleston, Davidson, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, MTSU, Notre Dame, South Alabama, South Carolina, Western Carolina and UT-Martin. South Carolina is the defending champion.
“We are not used to playing people like this,” said Harston. “The main thing for our players is to go out there and play the course. They can’t get caught up in the fact there are so many major athletic programs.
“Our golfers just need to stay in the present and play their games. We have been stressing that. If we do that well we will have a good showing. If we get caught up in how important this is then we will choke.”
Harston, who is also a member of the Champions Tour, tries to use his own philosophical approach to the game in dealing with his players.
“If a golfer can beat the guy in the mirror then he has the best opportunity to shoot his lowest score,” said Harston. “We practice as a team and we pull for each other as a team, but it is not a team sport when it comes down to playing. When you get on that first tee you are by yourself.”
The first tee time on Friday and Saturday is at 8 a.m. Sunday’s first tee time is 7:30 a.m. Players will start from both the No. 1 and No. 10 holes.
On Friday the Bisons golfers will tee off from the 10th hole. Blake Brooks will start at 9:30 followed by Brandon Mundie at 9:39, Samuel Marcrom at 9:48, Blanton Farmer at 9:57 and Andrew Brock at 10:06.
Playing the No. 1 spot for the Bisons is Brock followed by Farmer, Marcrom, Mundie and Brooks.
“I like this team,” said Harston. “There have been a couple of surprises. I knew Blanton could play, but I didn’t know he could come in and be the second qualifier on the team.
“He is not the biggest kid in the world, but he can drive the ball a long way. His short game is good. If a golfer scores well it is because he has a great short game. The way you score is to hit it closer to the hole and turn three shots into two. You don’t do that from the tee. You do it from 50 yards out or 80 yards out.”
Another surprise has been Brooks, a junior who asked if he could be a walk-on this season.
“I knew he could play,” said Harston. “But to have a walk-on come in and make the starting five is a surprise. I told him that we had a 72-hole qualifier and if he could beat the scholarship players he would be on the team. And that is what he did.”