After the Old Waverly Championship, Peng Pichaikool, a junior from Bangkok, Thailand, was left disappointed with how he played, as he dug himself a deep hole in the first two rounds at 11 over par.
However, Pichaikool shot his way to a 4 under par final round to finish at just 7 over par. He said the good thing is he had a week to prepare for the SEC golf tournament and hopefully improve his game.
"My swing, my short game feels pretty good, so if I can get my long game in play, I’ll be pretty good," Pichaikool said. "Everyone on our team can win right now, so I’m pretty excited about going into SEC play."
In the SEC tournament, the teams are paired off, and each player plays in match play to try and win their match to win points for the team. It is a bit different than the conventional tournament set up, and it also means everyone will have to play their best.
Pichaikool is looking to bounce back in the SEC tournament, and a part of his game is the friendship he has with Garrett Johnson and how they interact on the course as they offer encouragement to each other.
"He is a great teammate, he is one of my best friends," Pichaikool said. "He is a big team guy, and he always cares for our team. That’s great for us."
One of the more consistent players on the team, Johnson, a junior from Kimberly, Alabama, is rolling into the tournament with a performance of 9 under par at Old Waverly and a tie for third place finish.
Johnson said his game is a patient one and in the final round of Old Waverly, he did just that and took advantage of the back nine as he had birdies at No. 12, No. 14 and No. 15.
With the SEC tournament next on the Tee box, Johnson said he feels his golf game has hit the fairway for now and is something that will be important to hit at the SEC tournament.
"I feel my game is at a good place right now. Not just physically but mentally," Johnson said. "SEC that is a big thing, hitting the fairway. Up there it is a lot of visually intimidating tee shots, but once you get to the fairway you realize how big 10 fair way really is."
While Johnson played well at Old Waverly, the MSU team overall did not as they tied for 5th with a combined score of 13 under par. However, they played really well in the final round.
Head Coach Dusty Smith said his team fought hard in the final round and he was proud of how they played in the final round as the team battled strong winds and tough pin locations.
He said for some reason the team struggles with nerves when they play on their home course, but the way they bounced back from the second round struggles made him proud.
"I think it’s just because you play it so many times. You know it so well, and you play so many good rounds on it," Smith said. "You kind of expect this is how I should be playing this golf course. ‘Oh I should be a couple under through six holes.’ In tournament play, it is just different. I’m proud of the guys and how they fought back today."
With the team’s strong finish to the Old Waverly tournament, they head into the SEC tournament with some momentum.
Johnson, who has been at MSU for three years and seen a coaching change, said the team is at the strongest it has ever been in his time with the program, as they head off to the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simmons Island, Georgia.
"Probably the best place we have been since I’ve been here," Johnson said. "Two coaches and five guys playing, and our guys who are the backbone of the team really support us. They send us messages before we go out and knowing we have that support back home is really helpful."