The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday November 29th

Previewing the men's golf team for the 2019-20 season

Junior Austin Hitt driving the ball during UNC's win at the second day of the Tar Heel Intercollegiate, hosted at Finley Golf Course on Sunday, March 24, 2019.
Buy Photos Austin Hitt is one of the returning players to the UNC men's golf team.

After advancing to the NCAA Championship round, the North Carolina men's golf team will look to build on recent success in 2019-20 with the help of senior Austin Hitt, junior Ryan Gerard and others. Keep reading to find out who's leaving, who's returning and what to expect for next season.

Last season

In the 2018 season, UNC men’s golf placed well in multiple tournaments. The Tar Heels started off the season with the Rod Myers Invitational, where they tied for second. 

They also finished third in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Classic, first in the Tar Heel Invitational, second in the John Hayt Intercollegiate, and tied for second in the NCAA Stanford Regional, good enough to advance to the NCAA Championship round in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Who graduated

Three players graduated last year for North Carolina: Joshua Martin, Preyer Fountain and Tailin Song. 

Martin finished with the 11th-lowest stroke average in UNC history (73.20) and was an All-America honorable mention in 2018. He played in 31 events, which included two NCAA Regionals and the 2018 NCAA Championship, and also placed in the top 15 a total of 11 times, and in the top 10 eight times. To fill Martin’s shoes, someone will need to step up big this year for the Tar Heels. 

Fountain was another important player for UNC, as he played in all five fall events last season and had six top-25 finishes in his career. 

Returners to watch

The Tar Heels have some important returners to the team this year. Two players in particular, Hitt and Gerard, just finished playing in the U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst, North Carolina. They qualified for match play after they played 36 holes, and both finished tied for ninth out of a 312-player field. However, neither won their matches in the round of 64. 

Rising sophomore Ryan Burnett played in all five fall tournaments last year, including four in the starting lineup. He had the fourth-best stroke average on the team at 71.20, and was North Carolina’s best finish at Duke and Royal Oaks.

Dougie Ergood and Luis Castro, both rising sophomores, are two more key returners. Ergood competed in four events and was featured in the starting lineup for all of them. His stroke average of 70.92 was good for third-best on the team in 2018.

Last year, Castro played in two tournaments at Duke and Louisville and posted a career-best 72 in the second round against Duke.

Mason Elmore, a rising junior, is also coming back. He played in five events through fall 2018 and had his best finish when he tied for 49th at the 2017 Tar Heel Intercollegiate.

What to expect

With head coach Andrew DiBitetto going strong into his third season at the helm, fans can expect big things from the North Carolina men’s golf team.

Losing Martin will surely have an effect on the team, but the returning cast of Hitt, Gerard and several promising underclassmen is a solid foundation to build upon for seasons to come.

@AndrewMontross

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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