Backlund brings dreams, Swedish heritage to FMU

Tim Laurent, Sport's Writer

Junior FMU golf player, Sebastian Backlund traveled from Bollebygd, Sweden, over 4,000 miles, to join the team.

“I heard about FMU from one of my good mates from back home who played golf here,” Backlund said. “He talked about how good the courses we practice on are, and that the courses and competition we play in tournaments is always great.”

Golf is different from all other sports at Francis Marion in that it has the least amount of athletes on its team.

The golfers participate in multiple day tournaments throughout the season, usually teeing off early in the morning.

Because of the golf team has the longest calendar season of all the sports at FMU, it’s crucial that Backlund and the other golfers work on the mechanics of their swing to stay on top of their game. To do this, Backlund works with his trainer Ola Lindgren. In the offseason he goes back to Sweden and practices several hours a day, in the gym and on the golf course.

“…since golf contains many areas, I usually need to stay out there for hours every day,” Backlund said.

Backlund’s dedication has paid off. At the conclusion of the Amelia National Intercollegiate tournament in Fernandina Beach, Florida (the conclusion of the fall portion of the Patriot schedule), Backlund led the squad in average strokes per course at 72.33. Freshman Lukas Crisp, also from Sweden, is second at 74 strokes per course.

Backlund’s best tournament was the Big 5 Tournament on October 8-9 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in which Backlund shot two under 138 to finish first in the tournament in a field of 40 golfers.

Backlund also refers to ninth year FMU coach Mark Gaynor as a mentor for his golf game.

“When it comes to playing, I always try to learn from Coach Gaynor about game strategy,” Backlund said. “His information on that part has helped my game develop to the much higher level that I’m on today that it would be without him.”

“I look forward to playing here at FMU for the next three semesters before I graduate and try to join the big guys at the PGA tour,” Backlund said.

The Patriots have completed their local tournaments, but will continue playing through April, and will conclude their 2011-2012 season with the Wolfpack Spring Open in Raleigh, North Carolina. Also, still on the schedule is the C&F Bank Intercollegiate in Williamsburg, Virginia and Ole Miss Intercollegiate in Jackson Mississippi.