Mon, Jan. 7, 2013 - [Men's Golf]
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Men's Golf Team is currently returning to Williamsburg after the Christmas break and are preparing for a run at the NAIA National Championship. As most did their fair share of workouts and prep work during the break, one Patriot played in a major tournament that many would see as admirable throughout the country.
UC senior Niclas Rigbrandt (Nykoping, Sweden) was named a GCAA All-American last season. For his efforts, he was invited to participate in the 2012 Patriot All-America Invitational. The 54-hole amateur event, which is the first of its kind to combine the talents of 84 nationally recognized players in a holiday bowl-like experience, is the combined effort of the Arizona Golf Association, the Golf Coaches Association of America and the Wigwam Golf Resort in conjunction with the tournament's beneficiary, the Folds of Honor Foundation.
Rigbrandt played the 54-hole tournament at the Wigwam Golf Club in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Each player is playing in honor of a fallen soldier appointed to them by the Folds of Honor Foundation. The Foundation will identify a fallen warrior from each invited player's home or school to be honored during the event. Rigbrandt carried a golf bag donated by PING embroidered with the warrior's name. The golf bags were presented to the players by the Event Chairman during the opening ceremonies. At the conclusion of the tournament, the golf bags are sent to the players' schools where they will be auctioned off to benefit the Folds of Honor Charity.
Rigbrandt had the honor in representing Private Russell Madden in the Patriot All-America Invite. Private Madden was a member of the 1st Squadron, 91st Calvary Regiment. From Dayton, Kentucky, Private Madden was killed on June 23rd, 2010 in Afghanistan as he was serving his first tour during Operation Enduring Freedom. Madden was survived by his wife, two sons, mother, and father. In Madden's honor, Niclas participated in the Patriot All-America Invite and did very well. Rigbrandt shot a first round 79, and 2nd round 74, and final round 76 for a final total of 229 to finish tied for 68th in the 82 player field.
UC Head Coach Chris Kraftick commented, "We couldn't have had a better representative on such an elite stage. It's such an honor to have players invited to this event and to have 4 invited and 3 play in the first 2 years is exciting. Niclas is a leader and role model to his peers. He has worked tirelessly to become an All-American. This event this week was a wonderful reward for all that hard work."
Rigbrandt added, "It has been a great week and an honor to represent Private Russell Madden and his family in an event like this. I've realized that I am lucky to have the people that I love still alive, and I respect the soldiers that are fighting for our freedom even more. My golf game wasn't where I wanted it to be. I was struggling putting myself in attack positions on the fairway and when I had birdie opportunities I couldn't roll them in. I have very positive feelings about the spring though and I have learned a lot about my golf game and what I need to improve on to become a better player."
Niclas and the rest of the Patriot men's golf team will be back on the links on March 4th-5th as they will participate in the Lee University Invite in Cleveland, TN.
For more information on the Patriot men's golf program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.