Golf picked to win A-10 Championship

Alonzo Small
Contributing Writer

On April 3, the Atlantic 10 unanimously named VCU the favorite to win the conference’s golf championships, which will take place April 25-27 in Coral Springs, Fla.

The Rams earned first-place votes from all 10 head coaches on the heels of VCU’s second tournament victory of the season, which came at the Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational on April 1.

VCU’s first tournament victory of the season came in October at Old Dominion University/Outerbanks Intercollegiate.

2013-14 marks the first time the Rams have won multiple tournaments in a single season since 2008-09, when VCU claimed three tournament victories en route to a Colonial Athletic Association Championship.

Head coach Matt Ball’s team topped 21 other schools in their victory last week. The Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational marked the fifth time in nine tournaments VCU has placed among the top-five teams.

Senior standout Matt Ball, Jr.’s plus-five finish led the way for the Rams, who earned five-stroke victory after entering the second and final round down by two strokes.

Two other Rams recorded top-15 finishes as well. Freshman Enej Sarkani (+6) tied for sixth and senior Rocky Khara (+7) tied for 12th. Khara shot 73 in the final round and recorded four birdies to help VCU hang on for the win.

Meanwhile, sophomores Steffan Harn and Adam Ball finished 33rd and 52nd respectively for VCU.

However, Ball’s last place finish among VCU players is not indicative of the player he has been for the Rams this season. He and his older brother Ball Jr. both finished among the team’s top-two performers at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular and Auburn Tiger Invitationals, which were both held in early March.

For his efforts, Ball Jr. earned the A-10 Co-Golfer of the Week award for matches played between March 19 and April 1. Sarkani’s top-ten finish earned him a Rookie of the Week award following the best performance of his young collegiate career.

After the tournament, head coach Matt Ball said roster depth was a key to victory.

“Definitely a team effort,” Ball told VCU Athletics. “We got seven guys that are in it to play every time. We do have depth. There’s not a guy on the roster that’s not valuable to us (the team), that can’t contribute.”

VCU finished third out of 17 teams at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular on March 15, and 10th of 15 teams at the Auburn Tiger Invitational on March 11.

Next, the Rams will head to Wallace, N.C for the River Landing Intercollegiate stroke play April 11-12. Then, VCU heads home to participate in the third annual Black and Blue Cup against in-state rival University of Richmond. The Rams evened the score last year at one apiece after losing the inaugural event to the Spiders in 2012.

The eight-month season will finally draw to a close with the A-10 Golf Championships on April 25-27 in Coral Springs, Fla.

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