After weeks of preparation, Florida A&M men’s golf team will have another chance to showcase its hard work. But this time, it plans to capitalize on its opportunity.
The Rattlers will travel to Philadelphia, Miss. Friday to compete in the dual sponsored Frito-Lay and AT&T Golf Invitational, hosted by Jackson State University.
Last year, the team finished 12th overall in this tournament. Despite its performance, the Rattlers said they plan to take the green with both high performance expectations and confidence.
Several teams that participated in the tournament last year will make another appearance this year. Among the teams competing are Evansville, Lambuth, Lipscomb, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Southern Illinois, Talladega College, Tennessee State and Winston-Salem State.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rivals Bethune-Cookman and Savannah State are slated to compete as well.
FAMU appeared in three tournaments last fall: the Hall of Fame Invitational, the Mission Inn Invitational and the Stetson Invitational. Despite the Rattlers placing fifth overall in the Hall of Fame Invite in late September, they didn’t play as well as they would have liked, said Shephard Archie, the teams only senior.
As the Rattlers approach their first tournament of the spring, they said preparation has been their primary focus over the last few weeks.
Assistant coach Mike Rice said, “Strength and conditioning as well as flexibility are huge.” Rice, a new member to the team’s coaching staff, said he has already seen significant improvement in the team’s performance during tenure with the team.
Sophomore Cody Sapp and freshman Justin Stills said they have been working diligently this off-season and should be ready for action Friday.
Rice said some players have sought golf lessons to help perfect their gameplay.
Members of the coaching staff said they implemented revised practice schedules that gave players the opportunity to play rounds of golf on different golf courses to offer a sense of variety. They said the revision is an attempt to sharpen the teams’ tournament performance.
“Our biggest problem is that we need everyone playing well at the same time,” Archie said. “Fall was a struggle, but this spring we have gotten our stuff together.”