HIGH POINT, N.C. – The 2013 High Point University men’s golf team has a new, young squad under the direction of second-year head coach Greg Flesher. The Panthers welcome back three experienced returners to lead the way with five talented newcomers as they tackle a challenging schedule with eight brand new tournaments.
“I am thrilled with the atmosphere around our team this season,” Flesher said. “Everyone is working hard and everyone wants to get better. Practices have been very competitive and competition makes the whole team better.”
Junior LJ Georgetti and sophomores McKay Tye and Tommy Dillon return for the Panthers this season. Georgetti played in five tournaments last season, carding a career-low round of 69 at the Raines Development Group Intercollegiate. He finished the season with a stroke average of 78.85.
“LJ is the most athletic person on the team,” Flesher said. “He is very strong and generates a lot of club head speed. He has moments where he is great but, like all golfers, needs to improve his consistency.”
Tye was named to the Big South All-Freshman Team last season and finished the year with stroke average of 75.16, the best of any returning player. The Asheville, N.C. shot a career-low 65 in the first round of the Bash at the Beach. He placed seventh for his best finish of the year.
“McKay worked hard in the offseason to make his swing more fundamental,” Flesher said. “As a sophomore he has matured a lot and brings that mature attitude to practice and competition. I expect him to have a really good season.”
The final returner, Dillon improved throughout his freshman campaign. He competed in six tournaments and posted a stroke average of 77.64. Dillon’s best tournament of the season was the final one before the Big South Championship. He opened the tournament with a 74 in the first round and finished with a 54-hole score of 226.
“I know exactly what I will get from Tommy every week,” Flesher said. “He is our most consistent and steady player. Everything he hits is down the middle and he is always on the fairway.”
Flesher added five newcomers to the roster for 2013-14 that includes four freshmen and junior transfer Tyler Engel. Engel spent the last two seasons at Colorado, playing in 11 rounds with a stroke average of 77 as a sophomore. While Engel was on the team, Colorado was ranked No. 58 in the country by GolfStat and No. 67 by GolfWeek.
“Tyler has a great, natural swing,” Flesher said. “He is an incredibly talented player who works really hard every day. Right now he is forcing everything a little bit but once he learns to relax and trust himself on the course he will shoot some very low scores for us.”
The Panthers have four freshmen on the roster this season; AJ Hopkins, David Long, Phil Oweida and Jack Sides. Hopkins will redshirt the 2013-14 season.
“I am so excited for this freshmen class and I know they will have a great four years at High Point University,” Flesher said. “They are very talented golfers and work equally hard in the classroom.”
Long won the Maryland High School Championship and was a four-time All-Conference and All-State selection.
“David is a free spirit,” Flesher said. “He is a self-taught golfer who rips through the ball with power and aggressiveness. We will work to tone down his back swing this season and as he improves he will be a huge asset to the team.”
Oweida was named the Charlotte Observer Golfer of the Year after his senior season at Myers Park High School. He won the Charlotte City Amateur this summer before starting at HPU.
“Phil is a very well-rounded player,” Flesher said. “He hits the ball a long way but also has a great short game. One of his biggest assets is that he knows how to win and when to take chances on shots.”
The final member of the freshmen class is New Bern, N.C. native Jack Sides. Sides was the Conference Player of the Year as a senior and won the New Bern Country Club Championship in 2013. He also won the prestigious Treyburn High School Tournament.
“I believe Jack is one of the most underrated freshman coming out of North Carolina,” Flesher said. “Jack hits the ball a long way and rarely misses the sweet spot. He is a very quiet guys but lets his actions speak for him.”
The Panthers open the 2013-14 season at the Marshall Invitational at the Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington, W.Va. on Sept. 9.
“My only goal for the first tournament is to go out and play our very best on every shot,” Flesher said. “This is a new course for us with a very competitive field. We obviously have a young team so it will be hard to predict the first weekend. As long as the guys do their best I will be pleased at the end of the 54th hole.”