CLAREMORE — For Rogers State men’s golf an influx of new faces has come together with a new mentality for the Hillcats as the 2013-14 season gets underway.
With five golfers returning from last year’s squad coach Lynn Blevins is looking to redshirt sophomore Trevor Williams to provide leadership in his third season on The Hill. “I think we finally have some leadership. A coach can only be so many things,” said the Hillcat head coach. “I think Trevor being in his third year brings leadership and knowledge of how we do things. We have some upperclassmen leadership pushing the young players along.”
Hagen Barmasse is back after averaging a score of 78.21 as a freshman, totaling two rounds under par in his 14 rounds of tournament play. Jenks, Okla. native Aaron Davis returns for his sophomore campaign after appearing in just four tournaments last season. He averaged a versus par score of 5.55 and shot a low round 69 in the third round of the U.C. Ferguson Classic.
Two other sophomores, Thomas Reilly and Taylor Schoppa, return after a combined four tournament appearances a season ago.
Blevins is excited with the addition of seven newcomers to the roster including transfer Tanner Alder. A junior this season, Alder has already assumed a leadership role for the Hillcats this year.
“Tanner Alder has already made a big difference in our program. He has a goal and is very focused on it,” said Blevins of the Eastern Arizona College transfer. “Tanner has really stepped up and he leads with his actions and is a really, really good kid.”
A pair of international players have coach Blevins excited about the group of newcomers. Henning Hogmoen, a native of Norway, had four top 20 finishes as a senior, including a win at the Ostfoldmester Huseby Championship shooting a five-under-par, 65. Williamston, Ontario, Canada native William Lecky joins the Cats after three top five finishes as a senior at Char-lan District High School.
“So far in qualifying, Henning has by far been the number one player. It’s been a huge surprise, I knew he had the potential, but I hadn’t seen him other than on video,” Blevins said of the Norway native. “So it’s really, really good that he has shown and done all of that.”
“Will Lecky is from Canada and has already through five rounds of qualifying been solid and impressed me with his golf game,” said Blevins. “He has great work ethic and competitiveness. It is only going to make us better because of the competitiveness.”
Ryan Roberts and Austin Wride will look to make an impact as freshman for coach Blevins’ squad. Roberts was an All-State selection at Edmond Memorial High School after a fourth place team finish at the Oklahoma Class 6A State Tournament. Wride was a four-year varsity member of the Grapevine High School golf team, helping the Mustangs to a District Championship as he shot a final round 69. He was an All-District selection and posted the tournament low round.
Not only does the addition of seven new players bring new faces but also a new mentality according to coach Blevins, “It’s important to them. It’s a completely different attitude this year. I’ve always said the difference between when I first started coaching and now, it bothers me that winning doesn’t excite kids and losing doesn’t bother them. This group it does and I’m excited from that stand point.”
Tulsa, Okla. native Eric Moore, a First Tee Future Leaders Forum attendee, joins the Hillcats as a freshman this year. Moore played alongside PGA Professional Corey Pavin at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course during the First Tee Future Leaders Forum. Connor Schlegel, a Joplin, Mo. native, was an All-District and All-State selection as a junior and senior at McAvley Catholic High School. Schlegel is one of six freshmen on the Hillcat roster this year.
Blevins stressed the depth of the team this year, “From top to bottom, one through five, we are way deeper. Our fourth and fifth guys will be interchangeable with one and two so we are just going to be way more consistent than we have ever been.”
The Hillcats begin the 2013-14 campaign on the road at the Ryan Palmer Foundation Invitational in Amarillo, Texas at Tascosa Country Club September 16-17. Coach Blevins understands the importance of every shot with the number of talented teams crowding the field of this season’s tournament schedule.
“Last year we were finishing in the bottom half of tournaments. We have got to eliminate mental mistakes and realize that one shot can make a difference,” explained Blevins. “That if four or five guys make that mistake it can cost the team four or five places. I hope these guys will be more competitive day in and day out and be more consistent.”
The fall schedule includes trips Durant, Okla., Sherwood, Ark. and Garland, Texas. The spring slate will begin February 10-11 at the Jack Brown Memorial at Laredo Country Club in Texas. The Cats will travel south of the Red River the following two weeks for the San Antonio Shootout and Crawford Wade Invitational before wrapping up the season in late March and early April in Arkansas.