Freshman paces RU to third-place finish
Both the Rutgers men’s and women’s golf teams finished this weekend in positions indicative of their respective seasons at the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.
The women’s team recorded its third top-three finish this season in four tournaments.
The team finished in third place with a total score of 628 — 21 strokes behind winner Brown and 17 behind runner-up Seton Hall.
The Lehigh Invitational was a tale of two rounds for the Scarlet Knights, said head coach Maura Waters-Ballard.
“In the first round we just didn’t get hot,” she said. “We played pretty average golf.”
But they heated up the second day, with three of the Knights improving their scores.
The reason was the difference between the greens at Saucon Valley Country Club, which were much quicker than the ones at Rutgers, Waters-Ballard said.
Once the Knights got accustomed to the speed of the greens, things improved.
“They couldn’t wait to get back out there for the second round,” Waters-Ballard said.
Freshman Kortnie Maxoutopoulis led Rutgers for the fourth time by securing her fourth consecutive top-five finish in as many tournaments.
Maxoutopoulis finished fifth, carding a 152, five strokes behind the first-place score.
“She was pretty satisfied with her play, but lost a few strokes on her putts,” Waters-Ballard said.
Maxoutopoulis figured out her putting during the second round and improved her score two strokes.
The Knights also had three other players crack the top 20.
Junior Karen Cash tied for 10th with a 156, junior Brittany Weddell finished 12th with a 157 and senior captain Lizzy Carl shot a 163, good enough for 17th place.
Elisa Mateer carded a 166 and rounded out the Knights’ scorecard, putting her in a tie for 23rd place.
While Waters-Ballard hoped for a better finish, she was proud of the team — especially because it showed consistency, leading to better results.
“Once you get more consistency, you will lower the scores,” she said.
With Lehigh out of the way, the Knights now look toward their fall season finale in Hawaii, a territory foreign to the entire team.
Since none of the players have been to Hawaii, all Waters-Ballard can do is research the course and try to imagine what the course is like.
“It’s pretty beachy,” Waters-Ballad said. “It could be similar to some of the courses we played in Florida.”
Despite the unfamiliar territory, Waters-Ballard and the team look forward to the future tournaments more than ever.
“I’m really excited for the next tournament and the spring season,” she said.
The men’s team finished the Lehigh Invitational with a team score of 620, good for an eighth-place finish.
Sophomore Jonathan Renza shot a 148, which placed him fifth overall to lead the Knights.
The tournament marked the end of the fall season for the men’s team, with the spring season opening March 16 in Port St. Lucie, Fla., with the Siena College Homewood Suites Invitational.
The women’s team has another short week of practice before it leaves for Kapolei, Hawaii, for the Rainbow Wahine Invitational.