Golf team brings back experience in lead roles

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Southeast Missouri State University golf coach Carroll Williams hopes solid experience at the top of his lineup will help offset plenty of youth at the bottom and lead to a successful season.

The Indians, coming off a fifth-place Ohio Valley Conference finish, open the spring campaign in the Jackson State Pizza Hut Classic Sunday and Monday in Jackson, Miss.

Southeast figures to be led by its experienced trio of seniors Jim Blose and Woody Hill, and junior Kent Phillips, a Central High School product.

All three were productive players for the Indians last season. Blose finished particularly strong by placing second in the OVC Tournament, marking Southeast's best individual conference showing since 1994.

"Those three are pretty solid," Williams said. "Jim really came on last year, and that has really spurred him on. He wants to be a professional, and he's working hard toward that.

"Woody is experienced and solid, like Jim. And Kent has made a lot of progress the last two years. He has really improved."

Added Williams, "Beyond that, we're really young."

Three sophomores and two freshmen will battle for the remaining positions, with sophomores Matt Hillis and Brian Sheehan scheduled to join Blose, Hill and Phillips in the lineup for the opening meet. Hillis is from Poplar Bluff.

Williams said he also likes the potential of sophomore Brandon Couch, a Sikeston product, along with freshmen Nathan Sprague and Justin Setser.

"Our sophomores and freshmen can be good players for us," Williams said.

Bad weather has prevented Williams from getting a real handle on his team so far, but he's optimistic.

"We're kind of an unknown quantity because we haven't been outside but a few days in the last month and a half," Williams said. "But I really think we'll be better toward the end this year than we were last year."

Southeast will play in six tournaments, including hosting a four-ball event March 31-April 1 at Kimbeland Country Club in Jackson, prior to the OVC Championships April 28-30 in Paducah, Ky.

mmishow@semissourian.com

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