The 1996 Red Raider golf team goes into the final year of Southwest Conference competition this year. The competitive field will round out 81 years of the SWC and some will prepare for the merger with the Big 8. Texas Tech, along with Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M will join the new conference which will be called the Big 12.
Coach Tommy Wilson's squad has already made an impact on the 1995-1996 season with an impressive second place finish in the Red Raider Intercollegiate that included medalist honors for senior Chris Mathis. Five lettermen are back from last year's seventh-place SWC finisher.
Heading the list of returnees are a trio of golfers who are proven performers: seniors Bryan Novoa of Laredo, Chris Mathis of Gilmer and junior Patrick Barley of Bedford. Bryan Novoa, the team's most talented player, already has top ten finishes in three of the four fall tournaments. Novoa was a Unanimous All-SWC selection in 1995. He also was named 1994 All-SWC and participated in the 1994 NCAA Central Regional playoffs and missed qualifying for a spot in the NCAA Championship finals by three strokes.
Chris Mathis, a three year veteran for the Red Raiders, has already proven this fall that he is going to be a force for this year's Red Raiders. Mathis won individual medalist honors at the Red Raider Intercollegiate this fall, shooting an impressive third round 69.
Patrick Barley, a former Texas state juniors champion (1991) is another Red Raider that is expected to provide solid play this season. Barley placed in the top ten in the 1995 Kansas Invitational and placed 13th in the Harvey Penick.
A host of Red Raiders will compete for playing time this spring. Coach Tommy Wilson's Red Raiders have played in four tournaments this fall and the competition for traveling squad honors has been tough. This competition can only make the Red Raiders a bigger threat in the Southwest Conference race this year. This year's schedule is one that should allow the Red Raiders to sharpen their competitive skills by the time the SWC Championships roll around on April 26-28.