Aug. 9, 2012
STORRS, Conn. --- With a challenging five-tournament fall schedule beginning in just a few weeks and half the roster consisting of freshmen, the University of Connecticut men's golf team will turn to its oldest players for leadership.
Brian Hughes (Fairfield, Conn.), the lone senior and most experienced player on the team, and Mike Masso (Suffield, Conn.), the Huskies' lone junior, will serve as team captains for the 2012-13 season.
"Two years ago, I challenged Brian and he answered above and beyond what I expected," UConn coach Dave Pezzino said. "He's been a great asset to the work ethic and to the positive environment we're creating here at UConn."
Hughes, 21, was also a captain last year. He has competed for the Huskies since his freshman season, playing in a total of 24 tournaments, including 11 last year. He has played 65 rounds in his college career, with an average score of 75.74. Hughes has had two top 10 finishes, including a fifth, in last year's Hartford Hawks Invitational, helping UConn win the tourney. He had seven finishes in the top 25 last year.
"The fact that Brian has put himself out there and played a ton of amateur golf this summer will be a big asset to him and our program," Pezzino said. "His leadership skills will be just invaluable."
Masso, 20, just joined the UConn team last season, but wasted no time becoming an asset to the program with his maturity, leadership, and organizational skills. This summer, he has been working hard on his game. Masso was the sixth-highest amateur in the Vermont Open, he reached the quarterfinals of the Connecticut State Amateur Tournament, and made the cut at the Connecticut Open.
"Mike had a very good amateur summer of golf," Pezzino said. "He is a very cerebral person and a smart player who is full of leadership qualities."
The Huskies will start their fall season with a return trip to the Adams Cup of Newport (R.I.) on Sept. 16-18. The tourney has moved, however, from Newport National Golf Club to Newport Country Club.
"The change of venue to Newport Country Club is going to be exciting," Pezzino said. "It's a legendary golf course in the Northeast that's hosted major championships. The Adams Cup has wonderful tradition and our team has been associated with the tournament for quite a while, so that's pretty special."
One week later, on Sept. 23-25, UConn will be at Bulls Bridge Golf Club in South Kent, Conn., for the Hartford Hawks Invitational, a tourney the Huskies won last year.
"The lineup we'll put out there to defend that title will be quite a bit younger than the one we had last year," Pezzino said. "But Bulls Bridge is just a great golf course. It's always in great shape. Hartford runs a wonderful event and to be able to play in a tournament so close to home that has such a solid field is great for us."
The Connecticut Cup, UConn's home tournament, will be held on Oct. 7-9 at the challenging Ellington Ridge Country Club. The Huskies finished third last year.
"There will be another strong field coming," Pezzino said. "Last year, the course was in perfect shape and we're excited to see that again. We have five returnees, and five new guys, and it's a good chance for the guys to play a home tournament on a golf course that I think is as good as anywhere in the country.
"When you talk about Ellington Ridge, you can't help but love the course --- it's always in perfect shape, the greens are the best in the state, and I think the last four finishing holes are just so good, you can put them up against any four finishing holes on any golf course. They can be such a determining factor in making a good round even better, or a so-so round good, or going the other way."
On Oct. 12-14, UConn will compete in the Big 5 Tournament at the Philmont Country Club in Philadelphia.
"Temple has run this tournament for quite a while and I'm excited that we will get the chance to go down there and compete," the UConn coach said. "It's a really good field at a fun golf course that has a lot of history."
The Huskies will close out the fall portion of their 2012-13 schedule on Oct. 27-30 at Turtle Point Golf Course in Kiawah Island, S.C., where they will play in the Kiawah Island Intercollegiate Tournament.
"We're excited to go back down to Kiawah," Pezzino said. "The golf course is so good and the weather conditions that time of year in South Carolina are just ideal for good golf. The field is really strong and I think Charleston Southern does a real solid job putting that tournament together."
The spring portion of the UConn schedule will be announced at a later date.