The 2019 GMC Men’s Golf Team finished their season with their best effort of the year and the result was what you always wish for as a player and coach – a National Championship!
The season started off with an interim coach, several new faces, and a couple of strong veterans from a 3rd place finish in 2018, but by Christmas break, Coach Van Horn took over the men’s program, some new assistants were involved with training the golfers, and some new faces were brought in mid-term. Local golf legend Jody Bellflower and club pro Mike Waller joined Coach Van Horn in working with the team on te course and in the Mason Golf Performance Lab on campus. After a couple of tournaments and numerous practices, the GMC Bulldogs qualified for the national tournament and new coach Charles Van Horn put his group together for the NJCAA National Championship. The results speak for themselves – best performance of the year, three All-Americans, and a NJCAA DIII National Championship.
The team had a tough challenge with the course and the weather as rain definitely impacted the field, but from the start GMC was in the hunt and by the end of day two they along with two other teams had separated themselves from the rest of the field. Following Day three the Bulldogs found themselves 11 shots back of Sandhills CC who posted a 293 the lowest round of the tournament. Coach Van Horn counseled his team to focus on themselves and their game. “Sandhills CC had a great day, but it is hard to maintain that level, especially as a team. I expect them to return to their average range, and if we play our best rounds of the year, we have a chance.” After improving their scores over three straight days, the Bulldogs made it four in a row and posted a season best team score of 301 and took home the programs third national title and second in three years.
Georgia Military College brought home some individual accolades as well with three golfers earning NJCAA All-American honors: Dusty Watts (2nd place) and Luke Ninneman (6th place) earned first team honors while Austin Quilian (18th place) pulled in an honorable mention award. First year head coach Chuck Van Horn pulled in some hardware himself as he was awarded the Coach of the Tournament Award.
“I am just really proud of the way our team continued to work to improve and showed up to compete all year. We had a different group in the scoring almost every tournament, so everybody played a part, and we all had to work together with the transitions we went through as a team. I knew we had it in us and I’m glad the guys showed it when it counted.”