Sept. 11, 2000
Pullman, Wash.--- Head coach Walt Williams is counting on two things lacking from his previous teams to catapult a young Washington State men's golf squad into the postseason: chemistry and depth.
"You can't undervalue chemistry as far as a golf team," Williams said. "These kids spend a lot of time together and the guys are closer together now. The chemistry has been building for two years and it will be better this year than it has ever been."
Depth is the second key to success for the Cougars in 2001. Despite a roster featuring three freshman, two sophomores, four juniors, and lacking a senior, the coaching staff thinks this team's talent pool is comparable to any in school history.
"We have seven or eight people competing for spots," assistant coach Tom McCurdy said. "People are working hard to get in the lineup and that is going to make us a better team."
"This team is probably going to be better than any men's team that WSU has ever had," Williams added. "Whether that translates into moving up into the Pac-10, I don't know because I don't know what everybody else is going to do. I do believe we will have the best team that WSU has ever had and I think we will be capable of beating several teams in the conference."
Playing out of the number one spot will likely be junior Jeremy Taylor. The West Richland, Wash., native led the team in scoring average (74.5) last year and caught fire down the stretch last spring.
"He might really be the one to watch this year. He had a fabulous spring last year and he might be one of the top players in the conference before the year is over," Williams said.
Jon Reehoorn, who played in the one spot last season, also returns and will join Taylor to give WSU a consistent pair of scorers at the top of the lineup. Reehoorn, also a junior, averaged 74.6 strokes per round a year ago and finished in the top 25 in each of five fall tournaments.
"He gets better every month, every week, every tournament," Williams said. "He never ceases to amaze me how much he learns and how much he knows about the game."
Like Reehoorn, Academic All-American Roger Flynn is another former walk-on that has played his way into the lineup. The junior from Boise, Idaho could be the most improved player on the team this season.
"He just keeps coming on," Williams said. "Since he walked on two years ago he has just gotten better and better. He is a tremendous asset to the team and I anticipate him being right in the thick of things this year."
Steven Bowles, a transfer from Lon Morris Junior College in Madisonville, Tex., is the final junior on the roster. After sitting out last year, Williams is anxious to put Bowles to the Pac-10 test.
"He has had some difficulty adjusting from junior college to the Pac-10, but we are going to find out this year if he is ready to step up to that next level," Williams said.
Matt McGeeney and Dustin White, both sophomores, have already played in 22 events despite their second-year status. McGeeney was third on the team in scoring last year, averaging 75.9 strokes per round, while White came into his own after an up-and-down freshman year at the Pac-10 Championship, shooting a three-over-par 291.
Two of the three incoming freshmen are expected to challenge for positions in the top five. Ryan Camp and Isaac Woods come to WSU after stellar high school and junior careers. Camp played at Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., while Woods prepped in Enumclaw, Wash.
"They are both very, very good players and they will be competitive for a position in the top five immediately," Williams said. "Whether they earn that right off, I don't know. We will have to wait and see how they respond to the challenge."
Cameron Chestnut, a freshman from Post Falls, Idaho, will likely redshirt the 2000-2001 season.
Williams is well aware of the peaks and valleys associated with a young team, and the headaches of trying to gain ground in the ultra-competitive Pac-10. The Texas native is focused on steady improvement for now.
"My biggest goal is to always try and improve and for everybody to get better," Williams said. "If we do that, we will be successful."