Q&A with Bowen Sargent
The Cavalier men’s golf team opens its spring schedule this week at Florida State’s Seminole Intercollegiate. The team was sixth at last year’s event and was led by the 10th-place finish of Kyle Stough. UVa coach Bowen Sargent talks about the opening event and his team’s outlook for the spring.
Question: What are you expectations and hopes for this spring?
Sargent: We met as a team a couple of weeks ago and the goal for the team is to make it to the NCAA Regionals and from there we will see where it takes us. The big goal is to make nationals, but qualifying for the regional is the first step. That includes getting above .500 since the new rule was instituted this season that you have to be above .500 to go to postseason.
Question: There are a lot of new players on the roster who had to go through the transition last fall of adjusting to college in terms of both academics and golf. How are they now doing as you open the spring schedule?
Sargent: Given that two of our first-years are internationals, it probably made the process last fall a little more difficult; just coming in here and not knowing what to expect. I think they are more comfortable, not only with the academic side, but the golf side too in terms of what is expected of them, what their daily routine is going to be. They all feel more comfortable with things this semester.
Question: Conrad Von Borsig did not have a strong fall. Do you see him rebounding this spring?
Sargent: I hope so. Our team depends heavily on Conrad. He was an all-conference player last year. He is supposed to be our best player on paper, but he did not have a fall that he was hoping to have. He is certainly a significant part of our team. He knows and the coaching staff knows, that when he tees it up, his score is probably going on the board every time. We kind of go as he goes. He is certainly capable. He had a great New Year’s Invitational in January and he won the 10-round qualifier for this tournament. I think he will continue to play well. Last fall it is just the fickle nature of the game. It just comes and goes. Unfortunately for us, he was in a valley during the fall. We just hope he is on the upswing now.
Question: Senior captain Greg Carlin had a very strong fall. Has he emerged as a team leader?
Sargent: Greg has developed a lot of poise and a lot of confidence heading into this senior season. For whatever reason I think he has taken on a sense of wanting to carry this team to some extent. He is the only player on the team right now to have played in a regional. I know he wants to go to nationals. Similar to Conrad, he has to help carry this team. He knows it is time for him to step up and play well. He sees himself as one of our primary players. That change in his confidence has played a part in him playing so well for us this year.
Question: Of the newcomers, who do you see as a player who could have a significant impact this spring?
Sargent: Steven Rojas has impressed me the most from everyone else on the roster. He has improved a lot since last fall. We made some swing changes and some putting changes with him. He has taken those changes and worked very diligently at them. Combined with his maturity and his background of playing internationally, he has set himself up to be one of our better players. I also have been impressed with how well Will Collins has been playing.
Question: Virginia has always played well at the Seminole Intercollegiate. Does that excite you to start the spring at this event?
Sargent: Traditionally, we have played well at this tournament and I pointed that out to our players earlier this week. I’m not sure why. We are the only team there that has not played a tournament this spring. It usually takes a round or two to knock the rust off. Our guys are excited and have seen the results of some of these other teams. I think they are chomping at the bit to play. It is a good golf course. It is similar to Farmington and we have played a lot of our qualifying rounds there to help prepare for this course. I am glad to see us going there with a lot of confidence. Kyle (Stough) had a top-10 there last year. I know Conrad enjoys playing there and Greg has been there several times and he has a good feel for what the course has to present. It is a tough field, but that is good. It will be a good challenge for our guys and the opportunity to prove ourselves. We need to do that. We need to play well in a good tournament.