ALLENDALE, Mich. — Barry golf coach Jimmy Stobs is a stickler for completing the proper process on every shot his players hit, be it in practice, in a regular-season tournament or even in the final match of the national championship tournament.
Perhaps that’s why Buccaneers senior Scott Smyers was not even a little bit nervous Friday morning when he stepped to the first tee for the final round of his collegiate career, the final match of the DII national championships on The Meadows at Grand Valley State.
“What the best players do is, they never take a shot off,” Stobs said Friday afternoon. “In practice, playing by themselves, playing with their buddies, every shot they hit, they go through the process and they hit it. You want to take what you do in practice to a moment right here. You don’t say, ‘Oh, I’m at a tournament, I’ll start concentrating, start focusing and going through my routine.’ You can’t simulate in practice how your stomach is going to feel because in a tournament obviously it’s churning, but you have to go through your routine, every time.”
So, when Smyers stepped to the first tee for his match against Nova Southeastern sophomore Hunter O’Mahony, he had gone through that routine so many times that his stomach was not churning.
“My nerves were OK, but I got off to a bad start, so I wish I was a little nervous,” Smyers said.
Smyers, playing in the first match to tee off in Friday morning’s championship match, fell behind O’Mahony two strokes through the first 13 holes, but he rallied to win, by three strokes.
Fellow senior Jared Dalga and junior Berry Jole also won their matches Friday as Barry claimed its second consecutive DII men’s golf national championship.
“This feels just as good as last year,” Smyers said. “It was a lot tougher last year, because it came down to a tiebreaker. This feels good.”
Barry, which is located in Miami Shores, entered the national championship tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, but the Bucs were edged by Nova Southeastern in the 54-hole stroke play segment of the championships.
“We always knew we had the potential to do this, but it came down to executing,” said Smyers, whose father, Steve, is an accomplished international gold course architect. “The last two years, when someone didn’t execute, our team was deep enough to pull us through. [Thursday] I had one of those days, it was an off day, an awful day, but our team was deep enough to keep us strong.”
Smyers lost his quarterfinal match Thursday by eight strokes and dropped his semifinal match by three shots. Barry however, beat Cal State-Monterey Bay 3-2 in the quarterfinals and beat Chico State by the same score in the semis.
“Winning back-to-back means a lot to the program and to these guys,” Stobs said. “Winning one national championship is pretty special, but to win back-to-back, very few people get to do that.”