Matt Connolly and Nick Jagoe
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA- The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's golf team will head north this week, intent on defending their Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship and returning to the NCAA Division III Championships for the second year in a row.
The Corsairs will join six other teams at this weekend's GNAC Championships, hosted by St. Joseph College of Maine at the Gorham Country Club. Play begins at 10:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
The GNAC meet is UMass Dartmouth's third competition of the season. "Obviously, it had to be held earlier, with the weather sometimes unpredictable in Maine," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Joel Baptista. "We're still trying to establish an identity. We have to ride the hot hand and hope it stays that way this weekend."
The course in Gorham is a par-71 layout. "It looks like a shorter course than we normally play," said Baptista. "We've been practicing from different sets of tees and working with different clubs to work on different shots we may have to make. The good news is that we have a practice round Friday. It was very helpful to have a practice round last week, and stay with the plan."
The championship should be closely contested. "From what I've seen, it's going to be a dogfight," said Baptista. "There are a lot of teams capable of walking away with the conference championship. The key is following the game plan, staying focused and trying not to waste any shots, Every shot counts, and you can't take two foot putts for granted. You can't worry about what the other team is doing; you just have to play the course to the best of your ability."