Hanging on the wall in coach Rich Johnson’s office is a list of goals for the golf team for this season.

The team sets goals every season, but it went a step further this year. The Yellowjackets included on the list what it means to be on the team and how they plan on achieving their goals.

“We’re currently conference champs in the UAA [University Athletic Association],” Johnson said. “We have a team that’s been together now for a couple years. Two years ago we participated in the NCAA Championships and we’ve participated in 16 of the last 20 NCAA Championships, so we expect to be NCAA Championship participants.”

After finishing in the top three in five of six tournaments in the fall, UR has high hopes for this spring.

The Yellowjackets want to defend their UAA title and they do not just want to compete at the NCAA Championships, they want to place in the top 10. UR also wants to win the District 2 Golf Classic at Hershey, Pa. and the Fred B. Kravetz Invitational in Rochester.

The Yellowjackets also want to have at least one player earn All-America honors and they feel they need to reduce their stroke averages by three shots per man in order to accomplish all of their goals.

UR got off to a good start during its trip to Hilton Head Island, S.C. over spring break.

“We came out of the blocks real strong,” Johnson said. “Everybody was swinging well and we started right out with shooting some good, low scores. By the end of the week, we were playing even better than when we started.”

Five golfers compete in each tournament and six athletes will probably get most of the opportunities.

Joe Quijano is the captain and one of two seniors on the team and he generally plays No. 1. “We look to him for leadership on and off the course,” Johnson said.

Joe’s brother, Mike, is coming off a good fall season in his junior year. He shot a 68 at the Williams Invitational, which included six birdies in a row.

“I fully anticipate that he’ll play more consistently than he did last fall,” Johnson said.

Junior Scott Clyde worked very hard on his swing over the winter and it showed in his scores over spring break. Sophomore Dave Masters is probably the most consistent player on the team.

“[Masters] doesn’t shoot a lot of low scores, but he doesn’t shoot high scores either,” Johnson said.

Junior John Semeniak and sophomore Jason Bronstein are also expected to be consistent players this spring.

Johnson believes the team needs to concentrate on the mental aspect of the sport the most in order to reach its goals.

“In general, probably the biggest improvement we need is the mental side of the game,” Johnson said. “You’re going to hit some bad shots. Accept it and go on to the next one.”

Johnson also said that the golfers tend to think too much when they are on the course. Part of what they try to do at practice is build muscle memory so that they do not have to worry about their swing technique on the course.

“You have to kind of clear you mind and then just let your athletic ability take over,” Johnson said. “When you get out on the course, you shouldn’t have to work on your swing. It should just happen.”

UR opens its season Saturday and Sunday, April 6 and 7 at the Kenyon Cup in Howard, Ohio. Otterbein College, ranked in the top 10 nationally, and Allegheny College, ranked first ahead of UR in the Mid-Atlantic region, will both be at that tournament.

“The goal for Kenyon will be to maintain the good play that we exhibited at Hilton Head,” Johnson said. “If we can beat those two teams, that’ll be a great kickoff to the spring season.”

Jacobs can be reached at bjacobs@campustimes.org.

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