After a successful 2020-21 season and offseason, golf has set its sights high for the upcoming season.
The Wildcats finished third overall at the Southland Conference Tournament in the 2020-21 season, one of the best finishes the program has had since 2018.
“We had our best year on record this past season,” said head coach Tom Shaw. “Unlike most teams, we had a fall season. The university really helped us with this and put us in a position that allowed us to compete and be ready for the spring.”
This offseason, senior Francisco Osio from Mexico City was the first in ACU history to play in the U.S. Amateur Championship. All five starting players from conference play this past season will return with the Wildcats. With the return of starters like seniors Jake Bay from Shattuck, Oklahoma, and Brian Choe from Coppell come two new freshmen. Both of the newcomers come from overseas – South Africa and the United Kingdom.
“The team has grown significantly, making us all better players,” Osio said. “We’ve added more depth to the team. It’s a real competition for a spot to be able to represent the school. We’ve gotten better and better every year, making qualifying for the team harder.”
The team struggled competitively during the 2018-19 season, ending in fifth place in the Southland Conference Championship. The 2019-20 season was canceled midway through, whereas ACU placed third at the conference championship this past season.
Shaw is looking forward to watching his players develop and close the gap of skills between them.
“When Francisco started as a freshman, the difference of skill level from player one to player 12 was a large gap,” he said. “This year, that gap from player one to 11 is much smaller and more competitive. Pepperdine, the national champions, had a similar lineup where everyone was extremely competitive, and we are hoping to follow that same format.”
With the recent move to the Western Athletic Conference, the program sees similar and new opponents. ACU will compete against such conference opponents as Lamar, Sam Houston and Utah Valley.
ACU opens its season at the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate Tournament. The Wildcats began their previous season at this tournament, where Choe led ACU, tying for seventh place. The tournament will take place in Choudrant, Louisiana, starting on Sunday through Tuesday.