The No. 10-ranked golf team will be competing in the 2012 NCAA Division III Championship on May 15-18.
The tournament will be held at El Campeon, one of the south’s oldest golf courses, at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
Emory is looking to improve on last years’ eighth-place finish.
“We had a solid finish last year but we are definitely striving for a championship this year,” sophomore Johnathan Chen said. “It’s within reach, we just need to make sure we go out there and stay focused.”
El Campeon is an 18-hole, 6,293-yard course of short cut Bermuda grass.
The course was nominated as the best new resort course by Golf Digest.
The 17th hole of the course is known to be extremely challenging, being a long double-dogleg par five, with more obstacles than some entire courses.
“El Campeon will provide a good challenge for us,” Chen said. “We played there at the Golfweek [Division III] Invitational in November of this season. We are just looking to go out there and compete, whatever course we are playing at.”
This year, Emory will send Chen, seniors Ryan Dagerman, David Collura and Nicholas Szem and freshman Alex Wunderlich to compete in the tournament.
Dagerman is leading the team with a 72.9 season scoring average.
He is followed by Chen, who has a scoring average of 75.2, and Wunderlich, who is averaging 75.9 strokes per round this year.
Wunderlich was recently named the UAA Golfer of the Week.
At the 36-hole Emory Invitational tournament at Druid Hills Golf Club, he helped Emory secure a sixth place finish out of the 17 teams that competed.
“It has been an up and down year for me,” Wunderlich said in an interview with the Wheel during the Emory Invitational. “In the fall, I changed up my swing, so I struggled during that adjustment. In the spring, I have gotten a lot more comfortable with my swing.”
Collura and Szem round out the scoring for the Eagles. Collura’ scoring averages is 76.5, while Szem’s is 79.6.
The team recently hosted an alumni tournament at Secession Golf Club in Beaufort, S.C.
The event brought back Emory golf alumni such as Lee Palms (’91C).
Palms is the only golfer in Emory history to win an individual national championship.
“Secession was a great opportunity for the team,” Chen said. “The course was unreal and there was a great alumni showing. Talking to alumni such as Lee [Palms] was an invaluable experience as far as my game goes.”
The NCAA Division III Championships is the only remaining tournament on the Eagles’ schedule.
“I am really just looking forward to get good practice sessions leading up until nationals,” Chen said. “This year, personally, hasn’t been as great as I had hoped. Playing well at nationals would really conclude this year with a good touch. I am really looking forward to some great golf next month.”
— Contact Dan Baum