When it comes to men’s golf, the Barry University Bucs tend to accomplish feats in reverse order.
In 2007, the Bucs won their first and so far only Division II national title in men’s golf. In 2011, the Bucs did the same thing with a regional championship. And on Tuesday, the Bucs finally won their initial Sunshine State Conference crown.
Next up for Barry is the NCAA South Regional, May 6-8 at Howey-in-the-Hills, which is just north of Orlando.
The top seven out of 20 teams will advance to the nationals May 20-24 in Hershey, Pa. The Bucs, ranked second in the nation, are a good bet to make it to Hershey along with local rival Nova Southeastern, which is No. 1 and the defending national champion.
“I guess it’s kind of unusual how we’ve accomplished things,” Barry coach Jimmy Stobs said. “But it’s just because our conference is so tough.
“It’s hard to win it.”
Barry, which became a conference member in 1988-89, has finished second six times in the past 10 years.
“We’ve been right there,” Stobs said. “Two years ago, a kid from Nova [ Richard Celia], who was a freshman at the time, rolled in a 20-foot putt to beat us by one.”
Celia won the individual conference title Tuesday, and had he made a short putt on the final hole, the team competition would have gone to a playoff.
Instead, Barry qualified for the regional as a conference champ, and Nova is a lock for an at-large berth.
“I think this is the strongest team I’ve had in terms of talent,” said Stobs, who has coached Barry since 2002. “We just need to clean up some mental errors.
“Our team in ’07 wasn’t as talented physically, but they were very smart. They knew when to be patient and when to go for it.”
Barry’s current team is led, in order, by freshman phenom Adam Svensson of Canada, senior Marcus Segerstrom (Sweden) and juniors Scott Smyers (Lakeland) and Jared Dalga (Grand Rapids, Mich., and a transfer from Eastern Michigan).
The fifth and final spot in the starting lineup has rotated among juniors Jaime Rodriguez (Miami Braddock) and Marcelo Huarte (Miami Columbus) and senior Simon Forsslund (Sweden).
Barry is so deep that 6-6 sophomore Berry Jole of the Netherlands won a tournament in the fall but hasn’t been able to crack the spring lineup.
Stobs, who has 13 golfers on his roster, said he has not yet determined who will be his fifth starter for regionals — but he’s not concerned.
“The scorecard doesn’t lie,” he said. “Golfers are always judged by their last tournament or their last practice round. I know what they are all capable of, but I have to go by what they do.”
MIAMI DADE COLLEGE
Coach Danny Price’s baseball team, which won the Southern Conference title and is ranked third in Florida and No. 11 in the country, has a bye into the May 10-14 state finals in Lakeland.
MDC (34-7) is led by conference Player of the Year Victor Caratini. The third baseman was joined on the all-conference first team by outfielders Jose Gomez and Omar Garcia, pitchers Kyle Carter and Ivan Pelaez, shortstop Robert Negron and catcher Danny De La Calle.