Golf Coach Larry Penley Comments On Upcoming NCAA East Region

May 15, 2000

Head Coach Larry Penley Comments…

On the NCAA East Region: I think it is going to be an incredibly tough region, for starters. Looking at the field, there are 10 top-20 teams in the East Region and there are 15 ranked in the top-30. Unfortunately, only 11 get to advance to the finals.

It is definitely the toughest of the three regions. I would like to see our NCAA Committee do a little better job of dispersing the strength of field, but we have yet to find out a way to do that. The strength right now is definitely in the east.

The number one, two and three ranked teams in the country are us, Georgia and Georgia Tech and it has been that way all year. But having said all that, it is going to be great competition. It is nothing that we haven’t seen all year. We’re going to have to continue to do what we’ve tried to do every tournament and that is go win. I don’t think we can try to go up there and coax our way through the top-11. We kind of tried that a little bit last year and it almost backfired on us. We are going to go up there with the attitude of trying to win the golf tournament. We have to.

On D.J. Trahan: D.J.’s impact has been pretty incredible really. We all knew that he was a great player. He has really shot some low scores for us. His consistency has been great. His ability to go shoot 68,69, 67 has really added a dimension to our upperclassmen. And I think at times, it has really taken some pressure off Lucas, Jonathan and John and maybe freed them up a little bit knowing that they had D.J. back there. They could go ahead and take it deep. In those regards, he has been a great, great addition to our top-five.

On this team compared to last year’s team: I think we kind of felt like we thought we had the best team in the country last year. We really did. We had such a good spring last year and pretty much dominated regular season play. I think we felt real confident going into the NCAAs. We are going to have to get that confidence back. I think we certainly can and I think we will. I think our team make-ups are very similar. If anything, I think this team is a little better than last year’s squad. Only because all five guys have been seroius contributors.

Even our five-man, Jani Saari, has done a tremendous job. He might be one of the best team players in the country. His scores always seem to count. Not only that, he is a really good leader. You don’t even know Jani is around. That takes a little heat off me a little bit. He is just a perfect team player. I think if we can get some steady play out of him and our top-four guns continue to play the way they have played. I think it can be real interesting.