Joe Gieringer, For The Miami Student

As summer kicks into full gear, the Miami University men’s golfers have each gone their separate ways, playing individual tournaments since the end of the season May 6.

That first weekend in May marked the MAC Championship, in which the RedHawks finished in fifth place in a field of nine and just five strokes off second place Eastern Michigan University.

Junior Ben Peacock was the top overall finisher for Miami, tying for 13th at seven-over par. Junior Mark MacDonald tied for 21st at 11-over par, while freshman Luke Shaughnessy and junior Brett Tomfohrde each shot 13-over par, tying for 26th.  Freshman Scott Cahill finished 44th at 26-over par.

First-year Head Coach Zac Zedrick looked back on the season as a learning experience and a successful start to a new golf culture at Miami.

“There was a lot of growth this year and changes happening in the program are pretty significant,” Zedrick said. “We were going in a new direction; a lot of trust began to be developed. Overall I’m really happy with where we’re at.”

Though a little disappointed at his team’s finish, Zedrick was optimistic with the attitude the team took into the offseason. After giving himself a week to, “take a break and focus on things other than work,” he was back to the grind, watching film and recruiting high school talent.

“To come back and shoot a low team score in the third round [of the MAC Championship] was great to see,” Zedrick said. “In that regard, it was definitely a positive way to end the season. Now I’m mostly recruiting, attending fundraisers and events and working on strategies, planning for next year. I’m seeing what I can do better and the people I trust can offer constructive criticism.”

With no graduating players, rising senior Tomfohrde finds himself in a familiar leadership role as he and Peacock become the most tenured players on the team. In addition to focusing on his own demeanor and enjoyment of the game itself, Tomfohrde looks forward to becoming a mentor to younger players.

“I’m going to lead by example, and show the new freshman how to do well in school and on the course,” Tomfohrde said. “Time management is really important. It’s an honor to be a senior and leader on this team and it’s good to know the sophomores can also take the [incoming] freshman under their wing as well.”

With last year’s team gaining a year of experience, players who did not play quite as significant a role in the 2011-2012 season are looking to step up and contribute for the RedHawks.

Sidelined with an injury this past spring, rising sophomore Brantley Kushner cannot wait to get back on the course with his teammates.

“You probably can’t find a closer team on campus than us,” Kushner said. “We also have a great coach that knows a lot about the game and having a younger coach, he relates to us a lot more. We trust him and know what he’s doing what’s best for us.”

Because of this atmosphere, Kushner said it helps Zedrick’s goal of being competitive in practice and in qualifying rounds.

“It motivates us all,” Kushner said. “We like to see each other do well and we want to succeed ourselves. As the upcoming season begins, I would like to play in more than half the tournaments and have an impact on the team to help us win in the fall.”

Much like his players, Zedrick looks to the fall with anticipation. With a whole year of experience at Miami under his belt, he hopes to settle in and further the success and growth the RedHawks have seen in the past 12 months.

“We have a definite direction with the program,” Zedrick said. “We know who we are and what we’re working towards. We have three incoming freshman that have signed letters of intent [at the moment]. We’ve matured as a team this past year and we’re focusing on relationships and personal performance and trying to get a little better everyday. We have a foundation in place and we can shift our focus towards the little things. I can’t wait.”

The RedHawks resume practice Aug. 20, the first day of classes.