The Wolfpacker

March 2018

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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MARCH 2018 ■ 65 Franken and sophomore Benjamin Shipp led the way through the team's five events (four in the fall and one this spring), Franken paced the Wolfpack with a stroke average of 70.53 with Shipp second at 72.50. Both have won events — Franken taking the UNCG/Grandover Collegiate Oct. 28‑29 in Greensboro, N.C., and Shipp winning the Golfweek Conference Chal‑ lenge Sept. 17‑19 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. NCSU emerged victorious in the 15‑ team field at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and also took first in the 14‑ team Wolfpack Intercollegiate field at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course Oct. 2‑3 in Ra‑ leigh. "Those two guys have had the lowest stroke averages in all our tournaments," McPhaul said. "They are our most con‑ sistent players. They're both really, really excellent players. They are powerful; they have great putts. "They're not one‑trick ponies. They do a little bit of everything on the golf course." McPhaul is a strong believer in com‑ petition and has continued to tinker with his lineups throughout the fall and early spring. Eight different golfers have carded at least nine rounds. "That's the best way to develop the ros‑ ter and best way to lay the foundation for your culture," McPhaul said. "We have nothing written in stone in the lineup. We're still creating competition as much as possible for those spots. "We're going to have to move away from that the latter half of the season as the tournament schedule falls. They come too close together to keep doing that." McPhaul's unit has posted four top‑five team finishes in its five events, and he is pleased with how well the transition has gone. "Throughout the fall they have been very receptive," McPhaul said. "They have been willing to do things in a new way and approach things a little differently. "I think, by and large, we have seen a lot of growth in the guys. I have been grateful to see a lot of maturation." ■ Newcomer To Watch Freshman Easton Paxton Paxton is the lone newcomer on the roster. The native of Riverton, Wyo., has made a quick impact. Through the first five events of the season, he was third on the team in stroke average (73.58) while participating in four of the five tournaments. Three Golfers To Watch Junior Stephen Franken Franken was All-ACC as a sophomore after com- piling the fourth lowest stroke average in school his- tory (71.17). Through five tournaments this season, he was averaging 70.53 strokes per round, which would be second best at NC State behind only Matt Hill's 70.10 in his national-title winning 2008-09 season. Franken finished in the top 10 in four of the first five tournaments. Sophomore Benjamin Shipp Shipp was named to the PING All-Region Team after his freshman season when he notched four top-10 finishes and scored at or under par in half (16 of 32) of his rounds. He has one individual title to his credit in the fall and was second to Franken in strokes per round (72.50) through five events. Junior Nolan Mills Jr. In each of his first two seasons at NC State, Mills has claimed at least one individual title. He won he Duke-UNC Indy as a freshman and the Wolf - pack Spring Open and Barton Intercollegiate as a sophomore. ■ Key Matches • At Hootie at Bulls Bay in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., March 25‑27 — This will be one of NC State's last tune- ups before the ACC Championship and NCAA Regional. • At ACC Championship in New London, N.C., April 20‑22 — The ACC is traditionally a strong golf conference, and Georgia Tech is the frontrunner for this year's event. • At NCAA Regional in Raleigh, May 14‑16 — The Lon - nie Poole Golf Course has been selected as a site for the regional, which could be a boost for NC State if it makes it to the postseason. ■ By The Numbers 0 Number of seniors on this year 's roster for NC State. The Pack has five juniors, three sopho- mores and one freshman. 4 ACC teams ranked in the Feb. 16 coaches' poll: No. 5 Georgia Tech, No. 13 Wake Forest, No. 16 Clemson and No. 24 North Carolina. Duke had been No. 25 in the final poll of the fall, but dropped out of the updated ratings. 8 Combined individual wins by Nolan Mills (five) and his son Nolan Mills Jr. (three), a junior on this year's team. Noting The Pack • Assistant coach Van Williams has a background in the state of North Carolina. He was the head golf coach at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh from 2011-13 and a former assistant at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington from 2006-08. In between, he was an assistant basketball coach at his alma mater, Shaw University. He played basket- ball at Shaw and helped lead the Bears to the 2002 Division II Final Four. Before coming to NC State, he was an assistant golf coach at Arizona State in 2017. He also coached three years on Oregon's staff, including its national- title winning 2016 squad. • This is the first season in nearly a half cen- tury that NC State will not have Richard Sykes as the head coach of its men's golf program. Sykes stepped down after 46 years following last season, when NCSU capped the campaign by finishing sev- enth at the NCAA Regional in Austin, Texas. In a banquet honoring his career, NC State athlet- ics department announced a $25,000 gift to name the study room for the golf teams after Sykes. Sophomore Benjamin Shipp won the Golfweek Conference Challenge Sept. 17‑19 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

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