It helps to be a morning person if you are a golfer. It’s still cool outside, the sun is just coming up to begin its long day of work and dew still coats the fairways, greens and tee boxes. The stage is set for TJC’s Men’s Golf Team; they have yet another opportunity to win a Region XIV title, and one last chance to prepare for the national tournament in May.

Player’s with the early tee times, around 7 p.m., will already be on the driving range trying to get a feel for that particular day’s swing. Starting with shorter shots that require short swings to accurately strike their targets; repetition is key.

Players make their way through their driving range routine, practicing shots that will be needed at one point or another throughout their round. Some players will be thinking about their putting, their chipping or maybe about how they want to still be asleep. Other players may choose the comfort of their iPod over whatever thoughts might be clouding their mind.

Driving range sessions are followed by trips to the practice bunkers, the all-important trek to the practice green and a stop by the pro-shop to pick up a Gatorade, or maybe an energy bar to help with fatigue when the golfers make the turn. After a quick team pep talk by Sandy Terry, TJC’s head golf coach, the first pairings head for their starting tee box and the day begins.

On April 26-27, the Apaches teed it up in Bullard at Oakhurst Golf Course where the Region 14 tournament was held. This was the team’s second time to play a tournament at that location this year. They took second place back in 2008, losing to rival Lon Morris College by a total of 23 strokes.

“There is nothing in particular that we did wrong on the course the last time we played out there,” Terry said. “We just got outplayed.”

And while that may be true back in October, it certainly didn’t happen much this semester. The team has performed well for their coach in 2009, placing second in four different events with some fields having as many as 23 teams in them.

The team had a lot to look forward to; however, because they posted their best aggregate two-day score of 584 (eight over par) at the par-72 Oakhurst Golf Course. According to Golfstat.com, TJC has yet to beat out their regional rival Lon Morris College in any tournament the two schools have both been entered into. Yet, Terry continues to preach patience.

“As a team, we have to continue to be patient. The national tournament is a five player, 72-hole marathon, and I believe it’s important to stay patient,” Terry said. “This upcoming tournament is not just a tournament. It’s for the regional championship. We want to win that championship.”

As it turns out, neither the detrimental weather or thoughts of another national championship got in the way of the Apache men. Led by James Glenn’s 72, 74, 71 (217), the Apaches captured first place in the Region 14 tournament by shooting a total three-round score of 886, beating bitter rival Lon Morris College by a mere two strokes. All the Apaches have to look forward to now is the NJCAA National Tournament at Goose Pond Colony in Scottsboro, Ala.

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