HIGH POINT, N.C. - The Barton College men's golf team is picked first in the spring poll by Conference Carolinas head coaches after finishing 11th in the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll and 13th in the Golfstat poll following the fall season. The Bulldogs, led by sophomore Daniel Claytor, placed first, second, fourth, fifth and third in their five fall tournaments, winning the 21-team Kiawah Island Invitational. Claytor, who is the No. 1-ranked player in the Southeast Region with a 71.69 scoring average, was top five in every tournament and won medalist honors in a playoff at Kiawah. He was also two-time league Golfer of the Month (September & October). Pfeiffer University checked in fifth heading into the 2011 spring season.
The Bulldogs, who had a 47-9 record against DII foes, returned six players from last year's squad, which was ranked No. 2 in the Southeast and finished runner-up in the Conference Carolinas Championships. All-American Daniel Castleberry (73.9) and East Carolina University transfer Michael Marshburn (74.0) also played well in the fall (posted a school-record tying 65 at PGA National) for Barton. Freshmen Dermot McElhennon and Micah Lawrence completed the lineup in most events, but 14th-year head coach John Hackney has three other players averaging better than 75, and expects contributions from all 10 of his players.
"The guys had a nice fall, so we are just looking to back it up in the spring," said Hackney, whose teams have made 11 straight NCAA appearances. "We have some great players and great teams in our league, so I would love to see Conference Carolinas continue making inroads on the national golf scene."
Queens University of Charlotte is coming off of their best year in program history having advanced to the NCAA Championship, and have no hesitation in thinking history can not only repeat itself, but improve upon the past. Queens returns all but one player from that NCAA Championship team and currently three of the Royals starting five from the fall are ranked amongst the top 15 players in the region.
Coker College is ranked third in the pre season poll. The Cobras are coming off a successful fall campaign where they placed in the Top 10 as a team in three of their four tournaments, including winning the Lenoir-Rhyne Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate. Returning for the Cobras are Jake Murphy, the 2010 Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, along with All-Conference selection Jared Crane. With the help of sophomore Ben Conroy, junior Diego Polo and freshman Matt Kreider, the Cobras have a solid core of golfers that should help them compete for the Conference Carolinas Championship in April.
Rounding out the golf preseason poll 4-10 was: Belmont Abbey, Pfeiffer, Mount Olive, Limestone, Erskine, St. Andrews, and Lees-McRae respectively.