“Get Swifty”: A Preview of Davidson Golf’s 80th Season

Nathan Marder-

With a highly talented, experienced team, the ‘Cats are looking to make a push for an A-10 Title. Photo courtesy of Davidson Athletics

In Davidson Golf’s eighty-year history, only three golfers have made the trip to the NCAA tournament to compete at the highest level of collegiate golf. The 2016-2017 season marked the most recent of these achievements as Jack Lang made his way to College Grove, Tennessee to compete in the NCAA regional tournament. Lang booked his ticket to The Grove after winning the 2016 A-10 Championship by 3 strokes with an impressive score of ten under par. He also made history as Davidson’s tenth conference tournament champion. Ultimately, Lang fell just short in NCAA regional play as he battled heavy winds in his first round of the 54-hole tournament, putting an end to his historic year.

This year, Lang returns for the 2017-2018 campaign as a junior and captain of the team, hoping to fight his way back to the NCAA tournament over the course of the long, seven-month season and lead the team to another A10 tournament. 

Senior Spencer Papciak, who joins Jack Lang as captain this season, is also hoping to have a big impact in his fourth and final year with Davidson Golf, and speculates that this year’s team is the most “poised to make a run at the conference title” out of the four years he has been here (which includes missing an A10 championship by just a few strokes in 2015). Papciak is extremely excited about this year’s schedule, which includes stops to familiar courses, such as the Fort Lauderdale Country Club for the Fort Lauderdale Intercollegiate Tournament, the Firestone Country Club for the Firestone Invitational, and Hilton Head, SC for the Wexler Intercollegiate Tournament. One new event was added this year in Bridgeport, West Virginia, coined the Health Plan Mountaineer Invitational. 

The season officially got underway at last week’s Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitiation at Guyan Country Club in Huntington, WV. Despite facing poor playing conditions, Jack Lang picked up right where he left off with a top 5 finish, shooting a 4-under-par, 67 in his second round. On account of the weather, the tournament was cut 18 holes short from the standard 54-hole/3 day layout, but Coach Tim Straub was still pleased with what he saw from the team in their first real test of the year. The ‘Cats saw improvements for almost every golfer in the second round, which, for Straub, demonstrates the “potential that this team has for the upcoming season.” 

With Straub in his 18th season at the helm of Davidson Golf, his eyes are set, like many of the players, on the A-10 tournament in April and he is working hard with players one-on-one to make sure everyone is playing there best going into each tournament. Having only graduated one senior, Straub is confident in the experience that this year’s team has to offer but still looks to have freshman Alex Ross make an “immediate impact” on the team’s success. Overall, things seem to be falling right into place for Straub, as arguably one of the most talented golf teams in recent school history gears up for what will, undeniably, be another memorable season.

While it is clear that the golf team has everything in order on the course heading into tournament play, what they do off the course is arguably of equal importance. Anyone who goes to Davidson will tell you that the great thing about Davidson student-athletes is that they are much more than just the sport they play.  If you get a chance to spend some time with the golf team, it really becomes impossible to ignore just how true this is. When they aren’t in the classroom or over at River Run Country Club practicing their short game, you might just find Juniors Jack Lang and Kevin Carlock rehearsing with their (moderately) reputable Taylor Swift Cover Band.  While many may deny it’s existence, Spencer Papciak, who lives only 2 doors down from Jack Lang, can confirm that the band “not only exists, but is thriving” and, unofficially, calls themselves “Get Swifty.” While it is impossible to deny that the golf team is ready for another great season, their success is hardly limited to the golf course. Will we see the golf team competing for an A10 Championship? Without a doubt. Will wee see what Papciak calls “arguably a top three Taylor Swift cover duo at Davidson” performing at Live Thursday soon? We sure hope so.