The Dixie State College golf team hits off its spring season with the Pat Hicks Thunderbird Invitational hosted by Southern Utah University at Sunbrook Golf Course.
This tournament will congregate 15 schools from all over the United States. DSC will be the only Division II school among 14 Division I schools at the tournament on Feb. 12.
“I feel great about [the tournament],” said David Cunningham, a sophomore economics major from Park City. “We have been out here at Sunbrook practicing almost every day, so we are real familiar with the course. That definitely gives us an advantage.”
Cunningham said the whole team is playing better than they did in the fall.
DSC started practicing the second week of school and is in full swing.
“We are allowed by the NCAA to practice 20 hours a week,” head coach Chris Sutterfield said. “So we take full advantage of that.”
Sutterfield said the golfers usually play 24/7. He said the men have certain practice drills—like chips, putts and irons—they need to complete everyday as part of practice to help them prepare for the tournament. He said every day there is something different they need to complete.
Along with the beginning of the season comes a new coach. This is Sutterfield’s first year coaching at Dixie. Sutterfield played for BYU then went on to play professional golf previous to working at Dixie.
“I was out of the business for five years,” Sutterfield said. “So I am glad to be back in the game and hopefully help the kids learn from some of the things I have learned over the years.”
The Red Storm’s 2012 fall season was average for the players.
“We had one good event and two not-so-good events,” Sutterfield said. “So we are kind of where we thought we would be. We are trying to build the program up to where we want.”
Cunningham said Sutterfield is doing a fantastic job, and he is glad to have him on board as the new coach.
“He has got us out playing all of the new courses, which is really awesome,” Cunningham said. “He is doing some pretty good recruiting for the school for next year and getting on that early.”
Also new to Dixie this year are some of the new recruits.
“Some new players were able to qualify for the team this year,” Cunningham said. “So we have a lot of depth on our team.”
Among the new golfers this year is freshman recruit Kenny You.
“Based on [his performance] in the fall… I expect pretty good things out of him,” Sutterfield said.
Cunningham said You is very accurate with his shots and is an incredible golfer.
But it is not only You who contributes to this team.
“All the guys are really good,” Sutterfield said. “They are doing really well in school and they are buying into the new system we have. We are trying to get the best out of them every day.”
Sutterfield said the new system would be new practice schedules and helping them be more accountable. He said with the facilities, the weather, and Dixie State becoming a university, they should be scheduled to be in the top of the conference in the next couple of years.
“We had a strong team last year but over all I feel like we will be able to do a whole lot better this year,” Cunningham said..