A year after finishing tied for ninth in the nation, Wallace State's golf team begins action Tuesday in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I National Championship at Odessa Country Club in Odessa, Texas.
Freshman Brandon Beasley will get things underway for tenth-ranked Wallace State with a tee time scheduled for 9:36 a.m. The national championship, which is set for 72 holes, resumes until Friday.
"We are excited about our chances, but we don't want to put too much pressure on ourselves to the point where we can't perform up to our capabilities," said Wallace State coach Dan York, a NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee last year. "We're looking forward to a successful tournament. I think we'll go out and represent Wallace State well."
Wallace State qualified for the national event in mid-April after finishing in the top six during the NJCAA District IV Championship played at Willow Point Golf Club in Alexander City.
Two weeks later York's squad lost practice time because of the damaging storms and tornadoes on April 27 that swept through Hanceville and Cullman County.
The team got back on the course last Monday, practicing twice a day.
Wallace State flew to Texas on Saturday and had practice rounds on the Odessa Country Club's "Links Course" Sunday and Monday.
Cullman graduate Blaise Wilson will tee off in the No. 1 slot for Wallace State followed by Andrew Lowry, Deane Rikard, Conner Godsey and Beasley.
"These guys want to redeem themselves collectively after not playing well our last tournament. We're using that as motivation," said York, who's in his 24th year with the program. "Each individual has been motivated to work hard and prove to folks they are better golfers than what they showed in Alex City."
Wilson, Lowry and Rikard competed in last year's NJCAA National Championship at Hampton Cove, each contributing to the ninth-place national finish.
McLennan (Texas) Community College has won back-to-back national championships, finishing nine strokes ahead of Meridian (Miss.) Community College last year.
Wallace State golf is making its 16th NJCAA national tournament appearance under York. The school finished national runner-up in 1993 and 1996 and has finished in the top ten nationally on eight other occasions.
York's teams have also been named the NJCAA Academic Team of the Year on three instances (2003-04, 2005-06, 2009-10).
Results are available daily at www.golfstat.com.