Men's Golf Prepares for 2010 Spring Season

Jan. 31, 2010

The 13th-ranked Oregon State men's golf team is anxious to get back on the course this spring. After completing the fall season with finishes no lower than fourth, including a pair of wins, the Beavers are excited to see what can be accomplished in the upcoming season. The schedule packs a punch, as the Beavers will face top-rated competition at every tournament. The Beavers are led by a group of confident seniors that intend to extend their season as deep into the summer as possible.

However, ninth year head coach Brian Watts doesn't want this team to get ahead of itself, even if it does have the potential to do great things.

'I want everybody to get better every day,' Watts said. 'Hopefully by the end of the year, we are in the right frame of mind to play some great golf. It's a struggle at times, but overall the guys' expectations are very high. But they've got to take it one day, one tournament, and one shot at a time.'

The seniors, led by No. 2-ranked Diego Velasquez, bring experience and leadership to the group. Mike Barry, who is ranked 93rd in the nation, Paul Peterson and Tyler Simpson expect to make an impact on the program in their final year.

'Looking at the team, having four seniors, they've played a lot of the golf courses before and that should be an advantage,' Watts said. 'You expect those players to play well throughout the spring. Golf, by nature, is a game of up and downs, but that's where the maturity comes in that really helps you.'

The Bogotá, Colombia native, Velasquez, has been making headlines nationwide for his superb play during the fall season when his scoring average was first in the country at 69.27. Velasquez plans to stay atop the NCAA rankings by starting the spring season off well, and Watts believes that good play will continue.

'I don't worry about Diego coming in and struggling this spring. He's in a great place with his golf game. He hasn't backed off at all. He's always been a great ball striker, mentally he's in the right place, and he's very mature on the golf course. He's got it figured out.'

Paul Peterson is coming off a strong junior season in which he completed one of his best performances at the NCAA Regionals. He led the team at regionals with a round of 5-under 67 to finish 1-under for the tournament. The senior from Salem, Ore. completed the year with a 71.85 scoring average, which put him third all-time on Oregon State's individual single season list. Peterson will miss the first tournament as he recovers from a shoulder injury but Watts expects him to return by mid-February.

Mike Barry, a redshirt senior from Medford will be relied upon heavily by the Beavers this fall season. Barry enjoyed a strong fall season raising expectation levels and enters the spring ranked 93rd in the country.

'Mike had a great fall, but if you ask him, he'd probably tell you it was mediocre. He's going to make a huge impact this spring with the program. He's learned a lot since his arrival at OSU in the fall of 2009.'

Tyler Simpson, a team captain, finished last year with a scoring average of 76.60. He is regarded as one of the hardest workers on the team, and has earned a trip to Hawai'i for the Mauna Lani Invitational.

'Tyler works extremely hard and is getting better every day and he has really shot some great numbers. I think it's just a matter of him getting into the lineup, feeling comfortable, and not putting too much pressure on himself because it is his senior year.'

There are also eight underclassmen looking forward to an exciting season. Headlining the group are sophomores Morten Madsen and Johnnie Motomochi, who bring plenty of talent to the team. Madsen finished second on the team in scoring with a mark of 72.41 in 2009. Motomochi, from Delta, British Columbia, finished off last season with 75.25.

'We look for a lot of good things from (Madsen's and Motomochi's) games as well. They're both capable of going really low.'

Rounding out the group are sophomores Casey King, Alex Moore, and Jeff Petroff, and freshmen David Fink, Nick Sherwood, and Daniel Ingle. All are expected to keep the upperclassmen honest, and competitive. This talented group provides stability and gives Watts plenty of options.

'The great thing is how deep our team is this year. I don't think we've ever been this deep, as long as I've been here. We've got plenty of guys back home that can fill in at any time. Its always a positive as a coach to know that if someone isn't getting it done on the road, you've got someone back home who can fill in.'

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