A UTC golfer took some final practice swings this afternoon before leaving for Hutchinson, Kansas tomorrow for a huge event.
The team missed the NCAA Championships by one spot, but senior Chris Robb is still alive in the individual rounds. He enters the 54-hole format at Prairie Dunes Country Club feeling confident about his game. "I really feel good about my game, I feel I'm playing really well. And I definitely think I can win. If I bring my best game, I'll have a lot of confidence going into it."
Robb is from Scotland and helped in recruiting fellow Scot junior Liam Johnston, who in turn aided in bringing freshman Ewan Scott, also a Scot. Coach Mark Guhne has enjoyed the Scottish pipeline of talent. "You know, if there's another one over there like Chris, I would like to have him next."
Robb is a player who uses his extremely long and controlled game to his advantage. And Prairie Dunes is a "links-style" course. That should be an advantage to Robb. Guhne noted, "One thing about it is I think it will set up a little toward Chris because he's used to playing in a lot of wind where he grew up, of course, in Scotland."
The Scot made his way here because of the nice combination of athletics and academics. "The sports programs over here are just phenomenal compared to back home. There's no such thing as, I mean, you'll be lucky if your parents come to a university football match back home compared to over here, you have thousands of people coming."
The Scenic City has been a perfect match. Robb said he "always wanted to come over here." Now, he has a chance to reach a pinnacle in his collegiate career. He is the first Moc since Neil Connolly in 1993 to qualify as an individual. Robb said, "Very excited, of course. The last nationals we went to at Riviera was amazing, just like the tournament they run is phenomenal, the way they put it on is amazing. I'd be a bit more excited I think if the team was going."
But he'll have his own team behind him. Coach Guhne and "volunteer assistant" David McKenna among them. Coach Guhne said McKenna seems to relax and calm Robb. Guhne said, "The one thing about it is if he goes out and enjoys the round of golf, he will play well. That's the thing. You know David McKenna's done a great job working with Chris this year for me. David keeps him loose and when he's loose and having fun and pretty much laughing while he's playing, you better watch out, because he's going to play really good."
Robb tees off Friday and plays through Sunday in a field of 156 golfers. The top 40 and ties advance to the championship round Monday. He made it to the NCAA individuals by winning a one-hole playoff against Niklas Lindstrom of Liberty.
He says his mindset is ready for this next step, "Just keep doing what I'm doing, I suppose. I really focused last week on just focusing on what I could do, controlling what I could do and not worrying about other things. I guess I'm just trying to do the same thing, things are working pretty well at the moment."
by John Madewell