Georgia Southern Golf Set to Begin Spring Leg of Season
The Georgia Southern Men’s Golf Team has a long tradition of guiding players through the program, watching them grow and succeed along the way.
From February 6-7, the team will kick off with the second iteration of another near and dear aspect of the program that is sure to become a tradition in its own right.
Starting Sunday and continuing through Monday, the Eagles will host a handful of terrific programs in a 56-hole one-on-one tournament at Georgia Southern University Golf Course. The event is entering its fourth season and – for a second year – will carry the title of “Thomas Sharkey Individual Collegiate”.
The event’s namesake comes from a Georgia Southern golfer who was with the team from 2009 to 2011 before tragically passing away in a fire at his birthplace of Helensburgh, Scotland ahead of his junior season with the Eagles. Since his passing, Sharkey’s memory has remained closely tied to the program. A Scottish flag flies proudly at all times from the Bennett-Ramsey Golf Centre, a flag sticker is affixed to the Eagles team travel van and Sharkey’s locker remains in perpetuity as a constant presence with every GS team since his death.
In an emotional moment for the program, the Eagles won the Schenkel Invitational – which they hold every March – in 2014 for the first time in program history in what would have been Sharkey’s senior season. Georgia Southern happened to start the autumn part of the 2014-15 season in Scotland, with the team and the Championship trophy visiting Sharkey’s mother.
“The guys from the last teams never knew Sharkey, but I don’t think you can ever say that,” GS coach Carter Collins said. “They see his locker every day and know what it is. There are still stories about him that are told to our guys every year. Thomas will always be part of our team.
Collins also thanked the administration of Georgia Southern for the finishing touches to Sharkey’s legacy.
Although his locker is always ready to go, he received one final addition this season. Sharkey will have to fill his current spot on the Eagles roster as a post-graduation player as he now has a posthumous degree awarded in his memory.
As for the 2021-22 squad, this weekend offers a chance to dive headfirst into the spring portion of the season.
With the benefit of playing at the friendly Statesboro compound, every Eagles player will be in action except for Ben Carr and Lindsey Cordell, who will be contesting the prestigious Jones Cup.
“The biggest concern is knocking off the competitive rust,” Collins said. “Our guys worked extremely hard in the weight room and on the course during the break, but it’s always a little different when you’re back in a real tournament.
“It’s great that all of our guys have the chance to compete. It’s good to have a bit more knowledge back home, but it’s a tough course that will challenge everyone, including our guys.
Georgia Southern has risen to the challenge in every individual event it has hosted so far. The Eagles have a pair of wins and a second-place finish to show for in the event’s young history.
The GSU course isn’t as long as most NCAA championship events, but the layout offers original hole layouts and demanding green complexes that can weigh heavily on players who don’t place drives at the correct place on the fairway, or land on the wrong level of a putting surface.
As this season’s Eagles aspire to glory, the program’s ability to produce talent ready for the next level also serves as a means of pushing players forward.
Steven Fisk was a mainstay of the team during his run at Georgia Southern. He finished second in individual competition at the 2019 NCAA Championships and was a key cog in the Eagles’ reestablishment as a conference powerhouse when they made the jump from the Southern Conference to the Sun Belt.
Some of this season’s Eagles were teammates with Fisk, while many played under him while he was an assistant coach for two years.
Now striving to earn his PGA Tour card and competing in many professional events in the region, he continues to help the team as it has become a goal to pursue.
“A lot of guys dream of playing professionally,” Collins said. “It’s a huge help to have a guy like Steven living that dream and making himself available for our guys to talk to and learn from. He’s in this one-on-one grind every week now and that’s what our guys have. the chance to live. the week.”