The Cal State Northridge men’s golf team will welcome in a solid recruiting class in addition to their four returning letter winners from last year’s team to what head coach Jim Bracken feels may be the best team he has ever coached.
The Matadors finished sixth in the Big West conference last year, but are hoping for a better finish with an improved team this year. Honorable Mention All-Big West golfer, senior Aaron Hobbs, will be back to lead the team in his final season with the Matadors. He finished last year with a 74.24 stroke average, which led the team. Senior Kyle Nicolson, who had one top 20 finish last season, will be returning for his final year, as well. Junior Erik Jarvey, who was the teams’ number one player two seasons ago, is returning to the team after playing at College of the Canyons for a year.
New to the team are freshman Nick Delio and juniors Chris Satterlee and Greg Gauvin. Coach Bracken expects these players to come in and help the team immediately. Only the top five players from week-to-week will play in the teams’ matches, but Bracken feels all ten guys on the team are capable of putting up low numbers and competing for the top five spots, leading him to believe this is probably the best team he’s ever had.
“We’re a much better team and a much deeper team,” Bracken said. “With the new guys we brought in, this probably could be one of the most talented teams we’ve ever had.”
With veteran players such as Hobbs and Nicolson as the leaders of this team, the other players, especially the newer guys, can use their experience to try and elevate their own games, according to Bracken. He also says it is important for all the guys to have a strong sense of healthy competition because by competing with one another, they drive each other to become the best golfers possible.
“All the guys help each other and push each other”, he said. “You are not going to get any better unless you push each other.”
Bracken is beginning his 22nd year as head coach of the CSUN golf team. Bracken led the Matadors to their only Division I conference championship in 2000 and has seen nine of his former players become All-Americans. Since the 1996-97 season, he has seen 21 of his former players named All-Conference. Bracken graduated from Cal State Northridge in 1980 and played for the Matadors golf program during the 1978 and 1979 seasons.
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