Absorbing the Spotlight: 2020 Piedmont Golf

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Matthew Leeman hits a shot during the Men’s Golf Camden Collegiate Tournament. He shot +6 as he finished 10th in the tournament and lead all Lions. Pic creds: Karl L. Moore

Brett Loftis, Sports Editor

Sometimes in sports, when all the attention is on one team, the team will usually fold in the spotlight.  The 2020 Piedmont Women’s and Men’s Golf teams have been the only two athletics squads who have competed during the 2020 fall semester.  Even though the spotlight is beaming down on them, they have produced every time they step out on the course.  

 

“With golf being both a fall and spring sport, I think a lot of our success in the spring will have to do with how well we perform in the fall.  The fall season always gives us a good indication of where we need improvement, so we can go out during the off-season and work on those specific areas of our game,” said junior business marketing major, Matthew Leeman.  

 

“Our success in the fall always boosts our momentum heading into the spring, and knowing that we will be better than we were before, adds a higher level of confidence.  I would consider the spring season to be our ‘bigger’ season because there are the NCAA Nationals at the end, so we always strive toward that goal of not only getting there, but playing well among top teams in Division-III.”

 

Piedmont Golf is the only sport competing this semester, and it is also one of the only sports that compete in both the fall and spring.  Building momentum in the fall is a very big step into spring for any sport, but especially for golf.  During the spring semester, Division-III golf begins conference play and national finals.  To sustain this success and momentum, there must be leaders on the team who help sustain the fall play into the spring.  The two true leaders on this 2020-21 Piedmont Men’s Golf team: Matthew Leeman and Ben Balen.  

 

“Leemann is a natural born leader that anyone who comes across him will learn.  He’s someone that I think anyone on campus can look to as a role model.  He carries himself well in the classroom, with friendships, outside activities and on the golf course.  Leemann knows the program here at Piedmont well, and definitely has been able to lead by example.  His work ethic is second to none,” said Head Men’s Golf Coach, JP Kircher.  “Those are extra hours that he puts in at The O.  He also takes pride in trying to help people out that are struggling, and is definitely someone that everyone on the team goes to for questions.  

 

Matt’s pride and commitment to the Lion Golf program is something that will be dearly missed one day.  Balen has also stepped in right away and been a leader. He plays the game from a very strategic standpoint, a little different than everyone else.  He’s competed in NCAA National Championships as well as many high level amateur events.  He’s another guy that gets his work done in the classroom and sets a good example for everyone else on the team.”

 

The Lions Men’s Golf team is not the only team making strides this semester.  The Women’s Golf is also improving this semester.  In two tournaments this semester, the Lady Lions finished second at the Transylvania Fall Invite, and then they defeated Georgia Military College in a head-to-head match-up.  Their performance in the fall has shown vast improvement since last season.  This can be contributed to a simple adjustment in confidence.  

 

“Our players have put in a tremendous amount of work into their games this fall. One factor that I have been working with them on is confidence. I know they have the talent and the ability to shoot better scores and to keep improving but they have to believe it. We have made massive strides in their confidence this fall and I know that is what has contributed to their success,” said Head Women’s Golf Coach, Susan Martin.  “My players will not be surprised to hear me say that with our short games, there is always room for improvement. That is one part of the game where I am never satisfied as a coach. So putting in more practice and time in that area will lead to lower scores and higher leaderboard finishes.”

 

The Piedmont Women’s Golf team will play their final tournament of the fall season on Oct. 26-27 in Harker Heights, Texas against University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.  The Piedmont Men’s Golf team will play their final tournament of the fall season on Oct. 26-27 in Dahlonega, Georgia at the UNG Fall Invitational.