CAPE CHARLES, Va. – The Bridgewater Eagles golf team will seek its second conference title in three seasons when the 2012 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Championship opens play on Sunday afternoon at the Bay Creek Resort and Club.
This year's conference championship will be played on the same par 72, 6,987 yard custom course that the Eagles claimed the 2010 conference title on - the first in program history.
Bridgewater's 2012 unit has been propelled by the play of a trio of golfers who have each shared the spotlight at various times throughout the year.
Senior Travis Gahman enters the weekend with the top stroke average per round for the Eagles on the year with a 75.1. Gahman also owns the top career scoring average in program history with a 75.2 average over his 68-and-a-half career rounds. This season, Gahman's turned in a pair of third-place finishes and shot a pair of 65 rounds at the 41st Annual Marine Corps Intercollegiate. His 65 at Camp Lejeune is the third-best single-round score of the season at the Division III level. Gahman's 3.13 average on par-three holes is good enough for fourth in Division III.
Along with Gahman, fellow senior John Phillips has been equally as strong for the Eagles during the 2011-12 campaign. Phillips trails Gahman by the slimmest of margins - a tenth of a stroke per round - with a 75.2 stroke average across his 20 rounds on the season. The Richmond, Va. native enters the weekend as Bridgewater's most seasoned player, netting a 77.18 stroke average across his 88-and-a-half career rounds. Phillips did earn one win on the year with his even-par finish at the Pine Needles Invitational, he also finished second at the season-opening Tom Kinder Memorial.
Junior Tod Foshee has also been exceptional for the Eagles during the 2012 season, carding a 76.9 stroke average across 20 rounds of play. Foshee posted a pair of top 10 finishes on the season, with his third-place finish at the McDaniel Spring Shootout pacing the way.
Following an injury to freshman Scott Wakely which held him out of spring play, sophomore Matt Dye stepped into the lineup and has been a consistent number four scorer for the Eagles throughout the 2012 portion of the slate. Dye showed progression throughout the spring before carding his best career round on Saturday with a three-over, 74, at the McDaniel Spring Shootout. Dye's performance was good enough to earn him runner-up honors at the event.
Defending champion Guilford enters the weekend as the odds-on favorite to make it two in a row. The Quakers own a 297.8 team average across 20 rounds of play to easily lead the tournament field. Bridgewater is behind the Quakers in second-place in the league with a 303.6 average, while Hampden-Sydney closely follows the Eagles in third with a 304 average.
On the individual side of the equation, Guilford's Noah Ratner, the defending conference Player of the Year, enters the weekend as the favorite after turning in an outstanding campaign. Ratner's 72.1 stroke average leads the conference by nearly a stroke per round over Hampden-Sydney's Rick O'Connell (72.8). Ratner's 72.1 stroke average leads all of Division III, while O'Connell sits in eighth. Roanoke's Brandon Ketron is third in the league entering the weekend with a 74.7 average and is tightly followed by Gahman and Phillips to round out the top five.
Bridgewater claimed the 2010 title by 10 strokes over Guilford, dethroning then two-time defending champion Washington and Lee in the process.
Last season, Mike Redwood became the first golfer in the 34-year history of the championship to win back-to-back individual titles with his final-round 67. Redwood fired an eagle at 18 to secure the victory.
The weekend begins on Sunday with opening round action and closes on Tuesday afternoon as a new conference champion is crowned. For complete coverage of the 2012 ODAC Championships, stay tuned to odaconline.com.