RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Anticipation is building for the California Baptist University men’s golf team, as the 2014-15 season approaches.
While some programs might be filled with panic if they had just graduated four golfers, including two of the most successful in their history, like the Lancers have, excitement is building for CBU head coach John Hackney. That's because of this year’s batch of recruits, which is made up of four recent high school graduates in Christopher Carew, Kavan Eubank, Greg Gonzalez and JJ Qualkenbush.
"We are extremely excited about the crop of new men's players we have coming into CBU this year,” said Hackney, who is beginning his second season with the Lancers. “We graduated four seniors and we believe we have replaced them with four sensational young men. These guys are world-class players with fantastic credentials and we are confident this foursome, combined with our returning players, will take the Lancers to the top of the Division II golf world this year and beyond.”
Gonzalez, a Riverside native and Poly High graduate, has been a force at a number of local tournaments. He won the 2013 Inland Empire Amateur Championship with a 10-under-par 206 through three rounds. Gonzalez opened the tournament with an eight-under 64 at Moreno Valley Ranch, which stands as his personal low score. Gonzalez also won the 2012 L.A. County Public Links Gold Association Junior Golf Championship’s 16-18 division with a five-under-par total in the three-round competition.
Qualkenbush is the other California resident in the group, coming in from La Quinta High, while bringing a lot of international success to the table. Qualkenbush is a four-time International Junior Golf Tour Player of the Year, with a career low round of 65. He’s also posted two wins at IJGT Major Tournaments with identical two-round scores of 147.
Carew, who’s posted a low round of 68, comes in from North Star High School in Idaho where he and the rest of the Eagles experienced plenty of success at the state level. North Star won its fifth-straight Idaho State Championship this past season, with Carew taking second place individually after having won the state title in 2012.
Eubank is a native of Japan but comes to CBU from the IMG Golf Academy in Florida. He won two IMG Junior Golf Boys 15-18 Division Tournaments in 2013. He also claimed the season-ending IMG Junior Golf Tour Championship with a three-under-par 141 and took the IMG Grand Cypress Tournament in historic fashion this past December. Eubank shot a 12-under 204 at the Grand Cypress event, setting four records in the process. He set the IMG Junior Golf Tour round record with a nine-under 63, a personal and junior course record, on the final day. His 204 total also set the IMG Junior Golf Tour 54-hole record.
This year's incoming foursome gives the Lancers a very deep and talented lineup for 2014-15, as they look to build on what they did in their first year under Hackney. CBU took fifth place in the PacWest in 2013-14 and advanced to the NCAA Division II West Regional in its first year as a fully-fledged NCAA program. While a strong first step, Hackney has his eyes on more with this year's group.
“Each of them has fired some really low numbers and hold course records in various locations, so we are looking for them to go lights-out for us,” Hackney said of his incoming golfers. “They are just first-class guys from great families and we can’t wait to see their impact on our program and college community.”