Feb. 19, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Despite temperatures hovering in the 30s, the University of Louisville men's golf team is hard at work in the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
Yes, the Cardinals already have great facilities at the Cardinal Club and the Musselman Center. However, always looking to improve his program, Crabtree has built his own practice facility right outside his office door.
With money raised from donors, Crabtree has put in swing bays, putting greens and a whole room where the players can chip and putt. It's those types of advantages that can attract a player to Louisville.
Louisville opens the spring season on March 3 at the USF Intercollegiate as the Cardinals begin their quest for their third BIG EAST title and a trip back to the NCAA Regionals, which is the main goal for Sciot-Siegrist.
For UofL freshman Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who hails from Rueil-Malmaison, France, it's those types of advantages that attracted him to the United States to play golf, and has helped him excel during his brief time at Louisville.
"I like the fact that we have indoor facilities," said Sciot-Siegrist. "When it's winter, we can still practice. We can play golf year round and really work on our game. The Musselman Center is awesome because you can putt and there are cameras there so we can see our swings. There are two greens where you can work on your wedges and a putting green where you can putt whenever you want."
Crabtree, who begins his 14th season with the Cardinals, is fortunate that he found Sciot-Siegrist at the Doral Publix last season.
"Robin is a great addition to the program," Crabtree said. "He is a talented young man, but more importantly, self-motivated and driven by his passion for the game. He showed quality results during the fall, and I am looking for him to be even better this spring. He is one of our main guys moving this program forward."
Sciot-Siegrist has taken advantages of the opportunity to come to the United States and compete at a high level. He competed in five events and posted top-10 finishes in four matches. In his first collegiate event, Sciot-Siegrist tied for eighth at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate. His best performance came on his home course, when he fired a 3-under par to tie for third place.
"I loved that we were traveling as a team," said Sciot-Siegrist. "I love to play with this team. I will never lose a shot for the team. We traveled a lot, and the spirit of competition is really intense. We have the opportunity to play on beautiful courses."
Growing up in France, Sciot-Siegrist got an early start on his career path. Playing golf overseas is a birth right, and that was true for Sciot-Siegrist, who held his first golf club when he was two years old when he played with his parents.
That passion for the game of golf is evident by the inordinate amount of time that coaches can spend with the players growing up. While living in France and out of school, Sciot-Siegrist faced a strict regiment and was able to develop his game to where he heads into the spring as one of the top players for the Cardinals.
Prior to joining the Cardinals in the fall of 2012, Sciot-Siegrist excelled in France, capturing the 2011 French Under 18 Championship and the 2012 Championship de France, which was a match-play tournament.
Before signing at Louisville, Sciot-Siegrist ranked in the top 350 of amateurs in the world as of August 2012 and was the French U- 16 champion in 2009.
"At U of L, we have classes for we can only play in the afternoons. Back home, it was stricter technically because our coaches spent all the time with me. Here, it's more on your own. They help us a lot, but it's really on your own because of the rules. Confidence is important, which is what I have learned while I've been here."
Sciot-Siegrist has been in the country for six months and has adjusted to the new culture. He started classes last August and continues to become acquainted with the language and college life. His teammates hope he can continue to stay adjusted on the golf course, and lead the Cardinals to another league title and a trip back to the NCAA Regionals.