Chattanooga golf coach Mark Guhne is taking three freshman and a redshirt freshman with him on Friday when the Mocs open their fall season at the Carpet Capital Collegiate at The Farm in Rocky Face, Ga.
How unusual is it for UTC, a perennial NCAA tournament team, to take a team loaded with first-year players on the road?
“Very unusual,” Guhne said. “I’ve never done it.”
What happened? College golf is an unusual sport, because coaches usually don’t decide who plays. The players do, in qualifying. That’s what happened recently when the Mocs qualified with three rounds at the Farm, two at Council Fire and one at Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. When that 108-hole marathon was finished, senior Davis Bunn, who finished third, was the only upperclassman still standing. Alongside him were Stuart Thomas (first), Wes Gosselin (second), Ewan Scott (fourth), and Brooks Thomas (fifth).
“It’s exciting,” Guhne said. “It’s tough to leave my older guys at home. I know how hard they’ve worked. I know the experience they have. But these are four very talented freshmen. There’s no doubt about that. They’ve got a lot of experience playing at high levels.
“I hope [the Carpet Capital] won’t be any kind of shock to them. I hope they just tee it up and go.”
Who are these new Mocs? Here’s a look:
• Stuart Thomas, Farragut High School, Knoxville, Tenn.
“He was highly recruited by a lot of really good schools,” Guhne said. “He’s a tremendous talent. He has an ability to take ir really deep. He can get it low. He’s a really good ball striker and a really good putter.”
• Wes Gosselin, Hardin Valley High School, Knoxville, Tenn.
Gosselin was forced to redshirt last season when both his elbows flared up, the result of too much practice.
“In high school, Wes played in the U.S. Juniors and got beat by [PGA Tour player] Jordan Speith, 1-up in match play,” Guhne said. “He also played in the U.S. Amateur while he was till in high school. He’s played in some high-level events. This week won’t be anything new to him.”
• Ewan Scott, Madras, St. Andrews, Scotland.
“He’s the No. 1 junior in Scotland,” Guhne said. “As a junior, he moved up to the men’s team and represented Scotland all over the world. He played from Africa to Australia to China.
“He’s got the complete package—he’s a really good ball striker, a good putter and he’s got a good short game. He’s already had tremendous experience playing high-level tournaments.”
• Brooks Thomas, Ringgold High School.
“He’s my blue-collar kid,” Guhne said. “He’s one of those guys, he never quits. That kids works and works and works. His strength is he does everything pretty well, but he’s also mentally tough. He’s got a tremendous amount of self belief.”
Sign up for our email list to get your morning news delivered directly to your inbox. All we need is your email address.