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The Virginia men’s golf team opens its season this week at The Fall Preview at Oklahoma State, the site of the 2011 NCAA Championships. UVa coach Bowen Sargent sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the start of the season and the outlook for this year.

Question: What are your thoughts about opening the season at the Fall Preview? Only the top finishers from the previous year’s NCAA Championships and a few invited teams make up the field.
Sargent:
It is a culmination of three, or four, or five years to get to this tournament. It has always been one of our goals to get to this tournament and get invited. It is probably the biggest regular season tournament we have played in as a team since I have been the coach. I think it speaks too the work and the effort that our coaching staff and players have put in over the last few years.

Question: What will your newcomers bring to the program?
Sargent:
David Pastore is hurt so I have not seen much out of him yet. But, Ben Rusch looks to be an excellent player. He has an extremely good short game and seems to have a pretty good mind. He is a very hard worker and is probably the hardest worker on our team so far this year. I anticipate he will get in the line up and play quite a bit. He is a little bit older, 21, so as a freshman I do not think he will have as hard of a time adjusting as the others might have had.

Question: Bruce Woodall missed all of last spring due to an injury. How is his recovery coming?
Sargent:
He is 85 percent of the way there and has played well in qualifying too date. He is working hard and trying to get it back. He is not playing bad but when you are not used to playing, it is those little things that add up at the end of a tournament. I don’t know how much he will play this fall but I think he can definitely help us going forward. He played as an individual at the Manor Intercollegiate and finished fourth, so that was good for him to help him go out and knock off some of the rust.

Question: After such a successful year last year, how do you keep that competitive edge in your guys?
Sargent:
I am trying to tell the guys that we have the ability to have the best year in the history of this program. I think everyone will get better this year and we should in theory be at least as good as last year. I am trying to keep them hungry. The schedule we have this year is extremely tough, and the guys are going to have to be ready. It is not a schedule you can just cruise through.

Question: You had a great summer as well. How was it getting to play in the U.S. Amateur again?
Sargent:
It was neat to play with all the young guys. I played a practice round with a 14-year-old kid and it was a great experience to compete with those guys that you watch play all the time. You forgot how good they are and the level they play at. It makes you appreciate where the game has evolved too and where these college kids are now.

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