App State men’s golf bounces back after spring season cut short

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Courtesy App State Athletics/Tim Cowie

App State golf fifth-year senior Dylan Lukes was granted an extra year of eligibility after last spring’s season was cut short because of the pandemic. “Some conferences aren’t even playing, so I’m very grateful we’re getting to compete,” Lukes said.

Cameron Burnett, Reporter

During the spring season of 2020, App State men’s golf had its season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifth-year senior Dylan Lukes was looking forward to finishing his senior season this spring until the pandemic struck, and now he is back with the team for the 2020-21 season.

“I’m just really excited we’re playing again. Some conferences aren’t even playing, so I’m very grateful we’re getting to compete,” Lukes said.

Lukes is back on the roster this year after being granted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19. He had the 10th lowest single-season stroke average in program history in 2019 and placed top 15 in their first tournament of this fall season. As a rare fifth-year senior, Lukes has taken up a role as a leader on the team.

“I like to lead by example and let the numbers (speak) for themselves,” Lukes said.

Junior Timothius Tirto Tamardi has impressed early this season, finishing sixth individually in the J.T. Poston Invitational  September 27-29 in Hartwell, Georgia with a score of 1-under-par. This was the best finish of his career and comes in just his second year as a Mountaineer, after transferring from Bethune-Cookman in 2019.

Head Coach Jason Allison is in his first year with the program after being an assistant for the men’s basketball team for five years.

“It was a whirlwind the first three weeks,” Allison said. The first move he made when he took over the team was to get all the players’ phone numbers and “basically re-recruit the team.”

Allison took the job in June and immediately got to work keeping the team together while looking ahead to this fall season.

“I’m not being technical with coaching,” Allison said. “That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to organize practice, we’re gonna work hard. (It’s different from coaching basketball), but it’s still coaching.”

In this short offseason, Allison was able to help the team start this season with a top-3 finish in the J.T. Poston Invitational.

“We have eight to nine guys that can compete for a spot. This thing is competitive and that’s what you want,” Allison said. “We’ve got a team that’s deep and we’ve got guys that can push each other and that’s what we’re striving for.”

Lukes said sophomore Addison Beam is one of the most competitive players on the team and before the season started, he won the Gaston County Amateur, finishing 11 under par.

“The kid’s awesome. He can go low as well as anybody can, so I’m very confident with our guys right now and I’m excited to get out there again,” Lukes said.

With such a short fall season, only three tournaments, the Mountaineers are coming in with the expectation to win and prove themselves.

“We’ve got two goals for our team. Win the Sun Belt Championship and have the highest men’s GPA for a team on campus,” Allison said. “We have the team, we have the talent, we have a long year, we’re looking forward to it.”

The Mountaineers finished third overall in their second tournament of the fall this week, the Intercollegiate at The Grove  Oct. 12-13 in College Grove, Tennessee. Tamardi finished 3 under par while Lukes and senior Jake Lane also placed on the individual leaderboard.

App State’s next and final tournament of the fall season is set for Oct. 19 in the Health Plan Mountaineer Invitational in Bridgeport, West Virginia.