Men's golf set for big test against the nation's best

Oct. 5, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville men's golf team faces its final exams a little early this semester.

The Dolphins face a stern test as they put their undefeated mark on the line at the prestigious Duke Coke Classic on Sunday.

Having won its first two tournaments of the year, Jacksonville is off to the best start in school history and is starting to turn some heads across the country. JU received votes in the first edition of the Golf Coaches of America Association/Bridgestone Coaches Poll this week.

The Dolphins are also ranked 48th in the latest edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin ratings, one of three Atlantic Sun Conference teams ranked in the top 50.

"We're looking forward to going up to Duke and competing against some very good teams," said JU head coach Jim Taketa. "We've gotten off to a good start and made some progress with some new faces in the lineup. We've got a lot of competition for the travel squad, which keeps everyone on their toes."

The Dolphins have won four straight regular season events, dating back to last season - including the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship. During that stretch the Dolphins have been led by Duncan Stewart, the individual champion in all four events.

Stewart has a flair for the dramatic as well, winning two of those events in sudden-death playoffs. It's been a sterling start for the senior from Grantown on Sprey, Scotland, who has racked up the most wins by a Dolphin since 1993 with seven.

JU is in for a lot of work on Sunday, playing 36 holes, with the final 18 holes set to start on Monday morning. Live scoring is available through

NCAA statistical rankings released: Duncan Stewart highlights the first edition of the NCAA statistical rankings released by GolfStat this past Wednesday. Stewart is ranked 16th in the country in stroke average at 69.8 and Russell Knox is ranked 60th with an average of 71. In relation to par, Stewart is ranked 22nd with an average score of -1.8 par.

Other notes from the rankings:

- Stewart's 66 in the opening round of the Sanctuary Cove Preview is tied for the 17th best round in college golf so far. Ryan Spears of Wichita State recorded the low round to this point with a 63.

- Stewart is a hot starter as he is ranked 13th in the country in first round stroke average at 67.5.

- Christian Martin has proven to be one of the better finishers so far as he is tied for 24th with an average final round of 69.

- After leading the country in par-3 scoring last year, Stewart is off to a hot start for the par-4 scoring title as he is tied for 27th with an average of 3.92.

- As a team, JU is 18th in average score at 72.93 and is 23rd in relation to par at +1.37. JU's first round average of 72.91 is good enough for 25th in the nation and that identical 72.91 is 26th nationally for final round scoring average.

- JU has excelled in par-4 scoring thus far as the Dolphins are ninth with an average of 4.1. While sporting a solid 4.79 average on the par-5 holes, JU is only ranked 47th in that category.