The ACU golf team is headed to McKinney Monday to compete at the Southland Conference Championships.
The tournament will be at the Stonebridge Ranch Golf Club and is the last of the Wildcats’ season due to the probationary period ACU athletics is currently in.
“We know there is nothing beyond this tournament, but that is going to have no effect to our effort or approach,” said sophomore Kyle Karnei. “We want to show the conference that we can be competitive, even though this is only our second year.”
Head coach Tom Shaw is bringing three players that made the trip last year. Karnei and seniors Corbin Renner and Kaden Walters competed in last year’s conference tournament. The other two players, junior Dillon Vaughn and freshmen Clarke Hudgins, will see the course for the first time on Sunday at the practice round.
“We are going to have to lean on those returners to tell us how the course is going to play,” Shaw said. “I already know it is going to be a tough course, but if we hit fairways and greens, we are going to be just fine.”
At last years tournament, Renner finished third and missed the top spot by four. However, he is coming off an injury from the Jim West Intercollegiate. Low back pain forced him to withdraw after 36 holes. His health will be essential to the team’s success in McKinney.
“Corbin is back to full health,” Shaw said. “He has shown all year that he can play with anyone in the country, and I expect him to have a strong finish to his college career.”
This will be Renner’s and Walters’ final tournament. Renner is tied for second in ACU history with three tournament victories.
The Southland competition will be the best test for the Wildcats all year. The outcome will be somewhat of a benchmark for where the ACU program ranks among the rest of the conference. Shaw said he is looking forward to seeing where his guys match and where they need to improve.
“We want to be at the top of conference,” Shaw said. “This tournament will let me see where we need to get better to be on that level.”