09/25/10 — CenturyLink Invitational: MOC golfers hope home course provides advantage

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CenturyLink Invitational: MOC golfers hope home course provides advantage

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 25, 2010 11:11 PM

Mount Olive gets a chance to see if "practice makes perfect" when the 2010 CenturyLink Invitational begins Monday morning on its home course -- Lane Tree Golf Club.

The Trojans, along with archrival Barton, are co-hosting the two-day, 36-hole tournament that includes teams in the NCAA Division I and II, and junior college ranks. Fellow Conference Carolinas members Erskine and Queens-Charlotte will participate along with Post (Conn.) University, Cape Fear Community College, Johnston CC and Louisburg JC.

East Carolina and Liberty (Va.) University will have three and four players, respectively, in the 64-player field.

Players tee off at 8 a.m. Monday and a 9 a.m. shotgun start is scheduled for Tuesday. The Invitational is open to the public and admission is free.

Mount Olive practices at Lane Tree, but is getting used to a significant change that took place after the Wayne County Men's Amateur in mid-July. The greens were redone on every hole.

Despite the adjustment, Spiron thinks it can be an advantageous course for his players.

"We're re-learning the greens just like the members are and we have to forget what the old greens are like," said Spiron. "With the new greens, they don't break the same. The course is in great shape ... the greens are perfect and the putting surface is perfect."

Teams will play 18 holes each day from the back tees, which stretches the course to nearly 7,000 yards. Spiron said the layout will be par-71 since tournament organizers will shorten one par-5 hole into a par-4.

The Trojans haven't played since carding a 14th-place finish at Cougar Point in the Kiawah Island Invitational three weeks ago. Kyle Ham fired a second-day round of 1-over 73 to pace MOC.

Mark O'Hara and Scott Woodard each tied for 34th overall, while Ham ended up tied for 50th. David Shields and Joachim Hagevall wound up tied for 61st and 82nd, respectively.

Spiron plans to enter an "A" and "B" team, and four additional players. The team set its lineup during a qualifying round on Friday.

"The real thing we're getting out of this with having everybody play, it gives me an idea of where their (respective) game stands," said Spiron. "It gives them an opportunity get in some tournament rounds. Kyle is a member here and always plays well in qualifying.

"He's kind of a sleeper. Fabrizio Ceppi ... if his putter is good, he's good. He hits the ball solid and straight every time."

Barton enters the tournament ranked No. 8 in the latest GolfStat poll. The Bulldogs won the Kiawah Island championship, and Daniel Claytor captured the individual title on the fourth playoff hole.