The middle of September on Eastern Michigan University’s campus means the men’s golf team is teeing off for another exciting season.
While the offseason is generally spent fine-tuning a shot, EMU senior Spencer Slade is up for Amateur Player of the Year in the Golf Association of Michigan and junior Brian Churchill-Smith won the Canadian National Invitational and the Toronto Star Amateur.
Slade, who transferred from Oakland University, and Churchill-Smith are two EMU golfers that have stood out thus far after the first tournament.
Slade finished seventh shooting par with 213 (66-72-75) at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate in Zionsville, Ind. this past weekend, while Churchill-Smith tied for 31st place with a score of 223 (78-71-74).
Slade’s opening round 66 matched the lowest score in a round for the Eagles since Oct. 16, 2011, when fellow teammate Casey Olsen shot a 66 in the second round of the Windon Memorial.
As a team, the Eagles finished eighth overall with a score of 888.
With Slade and Churchill-Smith excelling in the first tournament, there are some other golfers also looking to step into the spotlight for the Eagles this season.
The freshmen class is led by first team All-State golfer and two-time first team in hockey Brett White, who is from East Kentwood High School and is expected to make an immediate impact on the Eagles golf team.
Olsen, now a senior, is also expected to make some noise this season in his final run with the Eagles.
Last season, EMU finished second to the Mid-American Conference champion Kent State Golden Flashes who are considered to be the Eagles’ main rival.
“Our players have bought into that rivalry and that is the focus this year, to overtake Kent State and win that championship,” EMU men’s golf coach Bruce Cunningham said.
The quest for the conference title will pit EMU against other foes such as Ball State and Akron, who will also be looking to dethrone MAC favorite Kent State from its place as conference champions.
EMU’s next tournament is Sept. 23-24 at the Windon Memorial in Skokie, Ill., which is the same event that PGA Tour golfer Tiger Woods finished in second place back in 1996.
The first 36 holes will be played Sunday with the final 18 holes being played on Monday.
The event will be hosted by Northwestern University. The 15-team field includes fellow MAC members Toledo, Northwestern, Tennessee, Coastal Carolina, Lamar, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Florida Atlantic, Marquette, DePaul, Harvard and Lamar.