Nova Southeastern’s golf team is enjoying its new view.
Instead of looking up in the Division II national rankings to find longtime rival Barry University ahead of them, the Sharks are now looking downward — but not very far — to find Barry.
Of course, both programs are doing quite nicely.
Nova Southeastern of Broward County is ranked No. 1 in the nation, and two-time defending national champion Barry of Miami-Dade County is ranked No. 2.
And making things even more interesting is the fact that the postseason and national playoffs are less than six weeks away.
“I think the rivalry between Nova and Barry has come about because we respect each other,” Nova coach Ryan Jamison said. “Barry’s success has driven everybody to be better.”
Not only is Nova No. 1 in the national rankings, but it has the two top-ranked Division II players in the country in No. 1 Santiago Gomez and No. 2 Richard Mansell. Filling out the five-man playing roster, at least for now, are Priyanshu Singh, Ethan Marcus and Oscar Lengden.
Nova finished fifth and second in its first two tournaments of the year but has since been dominating by winning five of its past six tournaments.
“They are obviously playing good golf,” Jamison said of his team, ”but to win the national title we have to improve, have to get better. We need to be the best of ourselves.”
The Sunshine State Conference Championships will be held April 12-14 on the Red Tail Golf Course in Sorrento, followed by the NCAA South-Southeast Super Regional May 4-6 at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City and then the NCAA Division II National Championship May 18-22 in Hickory, N.C., at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa.
If both Nova and Barry aren’t in that final tournament, it will come as a surprise.
The Sharks’ roster has a nice Florida and international mix to it, with four Floridians and six international players who have come from far and wide. There are players from Colombia, Spain, Sweden, two from England and one from India.
That’s what you call diversity — and a good golf team.
MILESTONE AT 77
The feat took John Towle a long time to accomplish, but he finally did it.
Towle, 77, scored his first hole-in-one after 60-plus years of playing golf. The ace came on the 16th hole at La Gorce Country Club using a 4-hybrid.
“I was delighted,” Towle said.
The sport of footgolf — a combination of golf and soccer — is now available at Killian Greens Golf Club, 9980 SW 104th St. in southern Miami-Dade.
Eighteen holes of footgolf can be played in two hours and is more strenuous than regular golf, thus it can serve as part of a physical fitness program. Times are available after 4:30 every day of the week and soccer balls, which are needed to play, can be rented for $5. Players of all skill levels, as well as families and groups, can call 305-271-0917 for information or to reserve a playing time.
THAT’S A FACT, JACK
Arnold Palmer, at age 85, is certainly making more money these days than he did when playing golf.
Forbes magazine put out a list of its top-earning retired athletes for last year, and Palmer came in third on the list behind Michael Jordan and David Beckham. The King pulled in $42 million in endorsements and licensing deals. For his entire career, Palmer’s on-course earnings were $6,924,319. Jack Nicklaus ($28 million) was fourth on the Forbes list and Gary Player ($21 million) was sixth.
So, remember, whenever you take a sip of Arnold Palmer ice tea, you are putting a few cents in Palmer’s pocket.