Sean Covich Recaps Successful Shortened Season

Christopher Hall

In just its fifth season, the West Virginia golf team climbed into the Bushnell/Golfweek Coaches Poll in late September checking in at No. 25. The Mountaineers (-12) were coming off a tie for third with seventh-ranked Louisville at the Old Town Club Collegiate Invitational in Winston-Salem, NC hosted by, then, No. 1 ranked Wake Forest as senior Etienne Papineau shot a 54-hole school record with 203.

The Mountaineers came back home the following weekend and claimed the title at the Health Plan Mountaineer Invitational the following week at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, WV.

West Virginia opened the Big 12 match play in Houston, TX (The Clubs at Houston Oaks) with losses to No. 10 Texas (4-1-1) and No. 6 Texas Tech (1-4-1) the ensuing weekend. Following the loss to Tech, the Mountaineers captured the first conference win against TCU (2-1-3) later that day. They kept the momentum going on Sunday with a win over Iowa State (4-1-1) before tying with Oklahoma State that evening (3-3).

The Mountaineers ended the month of October at the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational in Windermere, FL (Isleworth Golf and Country Club) finished last shooting +27 before kicking off November with a seventh-place (-26) finish at the Ka'anapali Classic Collegiate Invitational in Lahaina, HI (Ka'anapali Golf Courses - Royal Ka'anapali) ahead of nationally-ranked Clemson.

West Virginia began spring competition with a win over Connecticut (295-305) at the Reunion Resort in Kissimme, FL.

Junior Logan Perkins shot a program-record low 62 in the second round of the Florida Gators Invitational as the Mountaineers finished the tournament sixth. Then the following weekend, West Virginia finished tied for seventh at the Seminole Intercollegiate (Golden Eagle Country Club) in Tallahassee, FL with North Florida.

The Mountaineers were competing against some of the best programs in the country and was heading to Bulls Bay Golf Club in Awendaw, S.C. for the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate before the Big 12 announced all spring activities were cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We had a great season going,” said West Virginia head coach Sean Covich. “In the fall we played five events and played really well. Obviously, we won our home tournament at Pete Dye. Finished third at Wake Forest, which is a really good field. Finished top five in Minnesota. Had a good showing in Hawaii, which Clemson’s out there, UCLA, Oklahoma, a lot of good teams. So, had a really good fall. I think at one point we were top 25 in the fall season. And then played a few events in the spring – going pretty well.”

“It’s just fun going to tournaments where you’ve got all these traditional powers and southern schools that have great facilities and weather. And, here comes West Virginia and they don’t know anything about us, and we’ve been beating them,” added Covich. “To be in the final pairing with Vanderbilt and Florida at the Gator Invitational. I mean, there’s really no reason we should be there. I just love that mentality that we’re just going down there, and we have nothing to lose. Hopefully, this whole situation doesn’t take a lot of momentum away from us.”

West Virginia has two seniors on the team in Etienne Papineau and Philipp Matlari. Both seniors are international players with Papanueu hailing from St-Jean-Sur-Richlieu, Quebec, Canada and Matlari from Leimen, Germany, neither had made their decision whether or not they would return for another season. 

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