Q & A with Bowen Sargent
The Virginia men’s golf team took top honors at the Gary Koch Intercollegiate last week in Tampa behind the first-place finish of junior Ben Kohles. UVa head coach Bowen Sargent talks with VirginiaSports.com about the win and Kohles’ play.
Question: How exciting was it for both the men’s and women’s programs to win tournaments in the same week, considering how much the players interact?
Sargent: It is hard to win in our sport, anytime. So, the odds of both programs winning in the same week are pretty small. That said, it was a great accomplishment and something we were all excited about.
Question: How do you think the team played and how valuable was the experience for your players at the Fall Preview, given that it will be the host of the 2011 NCAA Championships?
Sargent: I did not think we played our best but Ben (Kohles) really saved us. Ben really made us look better than we played. But, in terms of just being there, it was a great experience. The conditions will be very, very similar for nationals. Given the ability to play the course for four rounds it helps us, as a coaching staff, in determining who our team will be for nationals. I know each of the players took a lot of notes in their yardage books on how to play specific holes and pins. I think we have a pretty good game plan for getting there and who we need to take once we do get there.
Question: What was the difference for your team as you took home the title at the Koch Intercollegiate?
Sargent: Ben got the ball rolling for us. He played unbelievable with his opening rounds of 67 and 65. But, Amory (Davis) really made the difference for our team this week. If Amory can play like that for the remainder of the year then we become a very different team.
Question: In terms of his All-American chances, how important was it for Ben to get a tournament win on his resume?
Sargent: It is one of those things that separates players. They want to see kids that can win. It is important to see top-10 and top-20 finishes, but they want to see kids that win. As I mentioned earlier, it is really hard in this sport for the team to win. But, it is even harder for an individual to win. With a sixth-place finish at the Fall Preview and a win at the Koch he certainly set himself up to be a first, second, maybe third team All-American this year.
Question: Is it easier for a player to win, again, after they get the experience of winning their first tournament?
Sargent: In college it is harder because you do not ever really know where you stand in the field without leaderboards out on the courses. But, I think you gain so much confidence from winning and I think your teammates help breed that confidence, because they expect you to hold the standard for the team and go out there and win. There is a lot of inherent confidence built within a team when you are that player and the face of the team. Ben takes that roll on and handles it very graciously. He is a very humble player and a great advocate for our program.
Question: What is the best part of Ben’s game right now?
Sargent: I have always said, and I think it is true of a lot of Tour players, that he does not really have a weakness. He drives it well, he hits his iron well, and he chips and puts it well. He has a ton of confidence and that is his greatest asset. He believes in Ben.