Sept. 27, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UAB men’s golf head coach Alan Murray could not have put it any better when discussing this season’s senior class.
“You could not ask for three better guys,” stated Murray. “They are everything that is good about the UAB program.”
Sam Love, Wilson McDonald, and Thomas Sutton comprise this year’s senior class on the UAB men’s golf team. The trio is arguably the squad’s top-three golfers. In the team’s first tournament, each of them placed in the top 10 individually at the Topy Cup in Japan.
“They will certainly be missed, that is for sure,” added Murray. “These guys want to be good, so if you want to be good you have to work at it, have a good attitude, etc. These guys display all of those things, so it makes my job much easier.”
Each golfer is from the state of Alabama, but took different paths to Birmingham. Sutton, a redshirt senior, is in his fifth year on campus, while Love and McDonald came in during the 2010-11 season. Former head coach Alan Kaufman identified the in-state talent and was a large part in the construction of this nucleus.
“There may have been some better golfers at UAB, but those three are the best group of kids,” said Kaufman.
The three golfers share many interests and are quite similar in certain aspects, but their differences are what make this team who they are. Sutton, this season’s team captain, is the mature leader, Love is the fierce competitor, and McDonald is the cool and collected one.
“He is the team captain, and he is that for a reason,” said Murray of Sutton. “He just conducts himself really well. He is older than everyone else and it shows. He is definitely a leader for the team.”
Love and Sutton faced off this summer in the Alabama Match Play Championship final, where Sutton recorded a 4 & 3 victory. Sutton’s version of the events shed some light on Love’s competitive nature.
“We are great friends, but when we were playing it was heated,” said Sutton. “Sam is so competitive. That is why it was so fun to beat him. I am sure he likes beating me just as much as I enjoyed beating him.”
McDonald’s roommate for three of his four years on campus, Love provided some insight on the Mobile, Ala. native.
“He is probably my closest friend on the team,” commented Love. “We’ve just helped each through anything. I have been glad he has been on the team with me, that is for sure.”
When asked who would take the win in a match between the three of them, their personalities shined through.
“I think I would win right now,” said Sutton. “When Sam gets on though, he is hard to beat. He’s one of the best honestly. Wilson is just so consistent day in and day out. He will shoot the same number, but I would take myself, obviously.”
“I would like to say me,” stated Love. “We beat each other on a regular basis, to be honest with you. I would say we are pretty evenly-matched.”
“It depends,” added McDonald. “Any given day, any of us could beat anybody. It just depends on who is playing well that day.”
With the three of them leading the Blazers, UAB has high hopes for the 2013-14 season. Last season, UAB advanced to NCAA regional play for the second straight year, but could not punch its ticket to the national tournament. This year, the team is looking to qualify for the national tournament for the fifth time in program history.
“This is the best team I have been a part of since I have been here, that is for sure” said Sutton. “I have pretty high expectations for us.”
“I think every tournament we should be at the top of the leaderboard or competing for it,” added McDonald. “I do not expect to win every tournament, but I think with the team we have and I definitely expect to be in contention every week.”
Love, McDonald, and Sutton will work together to bring the Blazers to new heights. The trio will look to continue its successful start to the season with UAB’s annual home tournament, the 2013 Shoal Creek Intercollegiate, hosted by Graeme McDowell. The two-day event runs from Monday, Sept. 30 through Tuesday, Oct. 1.
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