From UALR TO China
While the semester was getting started, junior Nicklaus Benton and UALR men’s golf head coach Wyn Norwood were in China, representing the USA at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzen, China, near Hong Kong. Benton played on the five-man team while Norwood coached Team USA. Benton had no idea he would be on the team until coach Norwood called him into his office.
“I was shocked and really happy because I didn’t expect it at all, coach Norwood called me into his office and asked if I would go to China with him and I quickly said ‘heck yeah!’” Benton said. “It was good knowing that coach Norwood was leading the team because it made the entire trip a little more normal, like going on normal golf team trips, and I was more comfortable, and I knew all the kids on the team, and it just made the experience that much better.”
Not only did Benton grow as a golfer but he said he believes he also grew as a person as well.
“It made me grow as a golfer a lot because it was the first time I had been overseas in Asia and the experience made me change my views as a person,” he said, “it’s not just golf that changed me, getting accustomed to the culture over there changed me, and getting to play with a lot of good golfers and seeing what it really takes to make it changed me.”
Besides being on the golf course, Benton’s favorite part of the trip was the different people he encountered.
“Walking around on the street and seeing all the people; there are so many,” he said, “when they see someone from America or Europe they freak out because they never get to see anybody like that often. Our team probably stopped one thousand times to take pictures with local people and to see the smiles on their faces, (that) made it my favorite part.”
Team USA placed seventh overall out of 17 teams in the competition. The UALR men’s golf fall season opened up September 12 with the Sam Hall Intercollegiate in Hattiesburg, Miss., where Benton finished 10th place overall in the individual part of the tournament, while the team placed 10th out of 15 teams. UALR returns to the course Sept. 26-27 at the Cardinal Invitational in Louisville, Ky.