Coach Shane Howell and the Bobcats opened their 2010 campaign at the Ocean Course, finishing ninth place in the tournament.
Howell reflected on his experience at the Ocean Course in 2010 and the benefit of junior Stuart Smallwood returning to Kiawah Island. Smallwood is the only member of the team who has played at the course.
“It will help Stuart having been there before,” Howell said. “He will have an advantage going into the invitational with some past experience. (The Ocean Course) is a great event and arguably one of the toughest courses in the States. This event will be a good start and measuring stick to see where we are, and where we want to go as a team.”
Smallwood competed in his first collegiate tournament at the Ocean Course as a freshman and for his first day shot a score of 155, two rounds.
Smallwood concluded with one shot over par 73 in his final round of the Ocean Course, and ended the three-day tournament 12 over par for a total of 228. He finished in the top 32 on an individual level.
According to Golf Digest, The Ocean Course ranked 25th in the magazine’s 100 Greatest U.S. Golf Courses List and 4th on Best Public Course List in the most recent ranking issue.
The Ocean Course contains more seaside holes on the Atlantic coastline than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere. The course, raised to allow unhindered views of the Carolina coastline, gen- erates unpredictable and vigorous sea wind patterns that could send a ball sailing off course, according to the course’s website.
Smallwood’s experience will be vital to fellow teammates in informing them how to approach and attack the Ocean Course.
“My role is just to be an encouragement and help identify trouble areas throughout the course to everyone,” Smallwood said. “The Ocean Course can be a very tough course and humble even the best players. We just need to go play golf and let everything else take care of itself.”
The Ocean Course recently hosted the 2012 PGA Championship, won by Rory McIlroy, the current No. 1 player in the world.