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National Tournament Journal: Travel, Relaxation, Practice Set the Tone
May 12, 2014 - Eastern Florida sophomore golfer Nick Maynard of Austin, TX is providing a daily journal from the team's appearance at the NJCAA Division I National Championship Tournament. Here are his first two entries.
Saturday, May 10 could not have come any sooner for our team. Well, perhaps waking up at 8 a.m. rather than 4:30 would have been better, but nonetheless, the team was more than ready to be in Iowa competing for the national championship.
The first plane left the ground from Orlando at 9 a.m. and arrived at Chicago O'Hare at 11. The team enjoyed the hour and a half layover in Chicago exploring the iconic O'Hare airport. After filling our stomachs with some exceptional Chicago style deep-dished pizza, we boarded our puddle jumper for the 30-minute flight to Moline, IL. From Moline, we drove our packed team van an hour and a half to the Pizazz resort in Burlington, IA. Finally, we had arrived to the destination we had been anticipating since early in the fall semester. Relieved to be through with our day full of travel, we relaxed in the hotel room by watching The Players Championship and exploring around the Resort and Casino.
Following a great dinner at Gators, the team decided to hit the game floor for a couple of hours before hitting the sack. Our first destination was Go-Karts. Drew Cooke took first place in the initial race, showing off his driving skills to the other golfers standing in line. Up next was a team game of laser tag. The intense gunfight in the dark and eerie battlegrounds of the laser tag arena concluded with Nick Maynard on top. After another race around the kart track and Drew taking another victory, we hit the showers and began to prepare for our first practice round, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
This morning's wake up call came at 6 a.m., early enough to get us on the first tee at 7:30 to play our first practice round. Spirit Hollow Golf Course widened our eyes with its astonishing natural beauty and perfection. The fairways are easily identifiable, cut tightly with a small intermediate cut followed by deep lush rough that defends the golf course against low scores.
The team executed a smooth first practice round getting a great feel for the difficult tee shots we will face in the upcoming week. The course definately suits our team; we have always performed well on difficult golf courses where the game plan is to hit the ball in the fairway. Following our lunch we headed back to the course to do some additional work around the greens. Coach Howell joined us in a fun competitive chipping game that ended in Drew and Brad Gray taking the title. The rest of the day included us relaxing in the hotel and playing games in the resort.