GOLF: Season opens strong

by Jeff Mercer

After coming off a strong first-place finish in their last tournament of the winter season in December, the men's golf team was ready to get their spring season underway.

Over the weekend, the team hosted the Club Campestre International Intercollegiate Tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, where they went on to place seventh in a field of 19.

"Overall, I think that it went pretty well. We beat a lot of the teams in our district, which is good for our standings in the NCAAs," senior Tim Carlson said.

Senior John Lawrence led the charge with a two-over-par performance after 54 holes, placing him in the top 10. He finished eighth along with Tim Turpen of the University of Tennessee and Michael Henderson of Brigham Young University.

After a rough first day where he finished with a four-over-par 76, Lawrence was able to pull it together during the last two rounds, finishing with two 71-shot finishes. The last two days were crucial, as Lawrence pulled himself up and managed to finish strong in the top 10.

Carlson also put in a top-notch effort, finishing just behind Lawrence with a three-over-par 11th-place finish. After shooting a 74 on the first day Carlson came back the next day and found himself with a one-under-par 71 by the end of the second round. He hit another 74 in the final round to finish in 11th place.

"The first round killed us," Carlson said. "But everyone stepped it up in the last two, which really helped us out a lot and gave us a chance to place really well against some tough competition. It was really encouraging."

Rice team members freshman Chris Connolly, senior Jim Duke and sophomore Jason Stevens also contributed to the finish. Connolly finished with a 10-over-par 46th place and Duke finished 68th with a 14-over-par finish. Stevens finished right behind Duke, with a 15-over-par 74th place finish.

"Really great for the team to do well. With four other guys counting on you, and you counting on them, it's really rewarding if the team does well," Carlson said.

The field was led by Stanford University's Joel Kribel and the University of Colorado's John Douma, who shot 4-under-par.

In their tournament last November, the Owls managed to repeat their championship with solid performances by Lawrence and Carlson, who both placed in the top five. Lawrence finished three-over-par and in a tie for third, while Carlson tied for fifth with a four-over-par performance.

The team travels to Honolulu to compete in the John A. Burns Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of Hawaii, on Feb. 19.

"The quality of the field there is one of the best around. It will be a good test to see how we compare with the best in the nation," Carlson said. "If we keep some of the momentum going from the last two rounds of the Monterrey tournament, we should do really well."

This item appeared in the Sports section of the February 14, 1997 issue.

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