The likely color of choice for the 2005-06 edition of the Wittenberg Tiger men's golf team is green. Since four of the top five scorers on the team heading into the spring season are freshmen getting their first taste of collegiate golf, there couldn't be a more appropriate hue.
The Tigers have two returning letterwinners on the roster as the spring season kicks into gear, but junior Brandon Sweaney has opted to concentrate on his already outstanding grades for this semester and will not play for the team. Sweaney will leave a void after ranking among the Tigers' leaders in scoring average in the spring 2005 campaign and the best figure in the fall 2005 season. In four rounds last fall, Sweaney posted an average of 76.8.
However, the Tigers do have senior leadership in the form of Kris Schmelzer, a three-year letterwinner who returns to the starting lineup in 2005-06 after posting a career-best 79.2 scoring average a year ago. Schmelzer has been among the team's top-five golfers in each of his first three seasons in the Red & White.
An influx of young talent will make or break the Tigers this spring, starting with freshman Garrett Smith, who emerged as the team's No. 2 player in the fall. Smith will be joined in the starting lineup by fellow freshman and high school teammate Dan Buchan and freshman Jeff Hochstetler.
Head Coach Garnett Purnell has numerous options to round out the five-man rotation each week, with the leading candidate being freshman Chad Summe, who shot an opening round 78 at the Central State Invitational on April 1 while playing as an individual. He missed medalist honors by one stroke.