Both the NC State women’s and men’s golf teams got their seasons started last week, as the Wolfpack men finished seventh in the Gopher Invitational in Minnesota and the Pack women finished tied for 11th in the weather-shortened Cougar Classic in South Carolina.
Those events kicked off academic-year-long seasons for both teams. The men’s and women’s teams both finished eighth in the ACC last season, and both return most of their talent to build on last year’s successes.
For the Wolfpack men, all eight golfers that competed last year are returning to the course, led by senior Stephen Franken who had NC State’s best average score of 70.56 last season. Junior Benjamin Shipp returns after averaging 71.94 strokes per round. Shipp finished tied for 83rd at last year’s NCAA Championships, and the Pack finished 24th as a team.
Seniors Justin Hood, Harrison Rhoades and Nolan Mills, along with sophomore Easton Paxton, all played significant rounds last year and all averaged under 75 strokes per round. Franken, Paxton, Shipp, Rhoades and junior Christian Salzer competed for second-year head coach Press McPhaul at the Gopher Invitational.
The NC State men will travel to the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in Scottsdale, Arizona this weekend, before returning home to host the Wolfpack Intercollegiate at Lonnie Poole Golf Course from Oct. 6-7. After that, the Pack will compete in seven more invitationals before wrapping up the season at the ACC Championships and NCAA Championships in April and May, respectively.
The Wolfpack women didn’t get to play a full tournament to open the season thanks to Hurricane Florence, but they did get some action at the Cougar Classic hosted by the College of Charleston.
The Pack women return almost all of their talent from last season, with Cecily Overbey being the only major departure. The Wolfpack does welcome back a trio of seniors that led the way last year in Laura Kowohl, Naomi Ko and India Clyburn.
In addition to those three, junior Mim Sangkapong and sophomore Monika Hartl return as starters. Kowohl led the way for the Pack in the Cougar Classic, shooting a 4-under-par 140 over the two rounds.
The Pack women had to withdraw from the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate in Tennessee, and will get back in action Oct. 12 at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill. Following a trip down the road to the UNC-Chapel Hill hosted event, NC State will compete in six more invitationals before April’s ACC Championships.