The LSU men’s golf team enters the 2014-15 season in Rocky Face, Georgia in the Carpet Capital Collegiate this weekend.
The No. 9-ranked Tigers are getting their season underway more than three months after falling to the eventual back-to-back national champion Alabama in the NCAA semifinals.
“I’m just really excited to get out there,” said senior golfer Stewart Jolly. “I’m excited to tee it up with my team.”
The Carpet Capital Collegiate will be held at The Farm Golf Club and host a number of top teams, including No. 3 Georgia Tech and No. 1 Alabama, which is seeking its third straight national title this season.
LSU head coach Chuck Winstead said he will be able to gauge the level of his team against such a talented field.
“This field will be incredibly strong…” Winstead said. “It’s a good field to open up with, because you get a real taste of what competitive championship golf should be.”
Some of the Tigers said they believe the team can compete with the nation’s strongest programs.
“If we play the way we should, we should be right there coming down in the last round,” Jolly said.
Jolly and fellow senior Ben Taylor earned All-American honors last season. Both are looking to lead the Tigers to another NCAA title run.
“I’m trying my best, alongside Stewart Jolly, to ensure that the new guys can play to the best of their ability,” Taylor said.
The Tigers finished the 2013-14 season tying for third in the NCAA National Championships at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hucthinson, Kansas, the best finish the program has seen since 1967. The team leaders use this for confidence going into this year’s first event.
“We all played very well towards the end of last year, and getting a taste of what it’s like to almost win a national championship, it’s very motivational,” Taylor said. “Coming back this year, I feel like we’re all much more motivated.”
The seniors said that performance also led to a new attitude among members of the program.
“Last year, toward the beginning of the year, we didn’t really quite believe we were one of the best in the country,” Jolly said. “Doing as well as we did last year, we really got the confidence that we can compete with anybody.”
LSU finished third behind wire-to-wire winner Georgia Tech and the second place University of Georgia Bulldogs in last year’s Carpet Capital Collegiate.
The event will tee off at 6:30 a.m. Friday, and the final round will take place on Sunday.