UAB’s record-breaking golf season leaves unfinished business

Sports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The UAB men’s golf team was in the midst of one of its best seasons in program history before the season was cut short due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The Blazers though, have a lot to celebrate from the 2019-20 campaign.

UAB finished the year with an overall record of 57-23-1. The Blazers were the highest-ranked team in Conference USA at No. 44 nationally and were essentially a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

Most impressively, the Blazers ended the season with the lowest team stroke average in the program’s storied history, posting a collective 282.72.

“I am extremely proud of the record-breaking season that our guys had,” said head coach Mike Wilson. “To have the lowest scoring average in school history is an accomplishment anywhere, but at a school with the golf tradition that we have makes it even more special.

“It is definitely disappointing that we were unable to finish it off, but the way our guys handled themselves at receiving the news was nothing but first class. We understand there is a bigger need in the world than college athletics at the moment. I look forward to watching out guys compete in the future, as it is a very special group.”

A pair of seniors in William Walker III and Murray Naysmith led the charge the entire season and were playing the best golf of their entire career. Both players were at or under par in all six tournaments this season, including five of which they both shot under par.

Walker III finished with the year with the second-lowest stroke average in school history at 70.3, while Naysmith’s 70.8 stroke average was third-lowest in program history.

Both will leave the program as two of the top players in program history. Walker III graduates with the third-lowest career stroke average (72.32) only behind Graeme McDowell and R.J Keur, while Naysmith is 14th overall at 73.70. 

As a team, the Blazers finished the top five in five of their six tournaments this year and found a consistent lineup of Walker III, Naysmith, Ben Reichert, Khavish Varadan and John Snoddy.

Reichert posted a 71.6 stroke average – the sixth lowest in school history – in his first full season playing for the Green and Gold. His season was highlighted by an 11th place finish at the Graeme McDowell Invitational.

A true freshman, Varadan caught fire in his final three tournaments, finish under par in all three of them, and shooting -6 in both the White Sands Intercollegiate and the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate. Varadan concluded his freshman campaign with a 72.2 stroke average.

Snoddy saved his best for last, earning Conference USA Golfer of the Week, after posting a collegiate low -8 at the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate and recording his first career top-five finish (4th).

The 2019-20 UAB men’s golf team will go down as one of the top teams in program history and can only wonder what if.

Had the season played out, these Blazers were poised to make a deep run at the NCAA Tournament. 


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