Sept. 11, 2016
By Chuck McGill
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Just call Matt Grobe the greenkeeper, because the fourth-year Marshall men's golf coach has to manage plenty of youth this season.
Grobe has two seniors at the top of the lineup - Will Evans and Clark Robinson - and will rely heavily on junior Alex Weiss. The rest of the roster? Well, the Thundering Herd's primary school color is fitting.
"Then we get really, really young," Grobe said. "We've got eight freshmen. We've got two redshirt freshmen who didn't play last year."
The season begins Monday with the Joe Feaganes Invitational, a Marshall-hosted event at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston. The two-day, 54-hole tournament concludes Tuesday.
Austin Peay, Belmont, Bowling Green, Cleveland State, Davidson, Dayton, Eastern Kentucky, George Washington, Longwood, Northern Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia Tech, Wichita State, Wright State and Youngstown will also compete.
"The one thing I like most about hosting an event is we don't have to worry about taking the team on the road to start on a course they don't know," Grobe said. "That's tough, especially when you're talking about a young team. Everything is different for them.
"I feel good about the fact that several of our kids know the lines a little better. They already know the course a little bit. They don't have to learn on the fly."
Grobe has an advantage with senior Will Evans, who is playing his home course. The Charleston native and former George Washington High School star is the son of Berry Hills Country Club professional Barry Evans.
It is the first event of Will Evans' final season, which is special for Grobe. Evans was the first recruit to pledge to Grobe after his hire in June 2012.
After Evans, Robinson and Weiss, Grobe will lean on collegiate rookies. Ben Roeder, a Michigan native and high school state champion, will play a key role after redshirting last season.
Camden Moore, a true freshman, will make his debut in this week's tournament. Moore won multiple state championships in wrestling and golf at Roane County High School, where he shared valedictorian honors with Cole Moore, his twin brother. Cole is also a freshman on the Herd's golf team.
The final MU competitor in Charleston will be true freshman Owen Elliott, a left-handed Hedgesville High School product who won the West Virginia Junior Amateur in 2015.
Grobe said it was a spirited qualifying competition to find six golfers for the season opener. The rest of the roster: senior A.T. Cashwell, redshirt freshman Charles MacCallum, and true freshmen Matt Hoffman, Cameron Root and Will Straub.
"We've got 12 of the greatest kids," Grobe said. "The very first tournament we have to pick six, which means we have to leave six great kids at home."
Marshall will have a quick turnaround after the Invitational. The Herd will have a few days back on campus before competing in the EKU Colonel Classic on Sept. 17-18 in Richmond, Kentucky.
"We really have a solid 12," Grobe said. "I love our freshmen and their energy. If we can get some help at the back end of the lineup, it could be a really, really good year."