Teams prepare for invitationals after fall debuts
With their first respective events of the season in the books, the Rutgers men’s and women’s golf teams returned to the practice green this week to improve for tournament action.
The men’s team hosts the 54-hole Rutgers Invitational.
The home tournament tomorrow and Saturday comes after the Scarlet Knights participated in the STX Invitational, hosted by Towson.
It was a disappointing first event for the Knights, who finished with a 1-2 match play record, good for sixth place among eight schools. They now have one more day to correct their play for the next tournament.
Freshman Jonathan Chang made his anticipated collegiate debut, had a good learning experience at Towson and captured two individual wins in his three matches.
“It went pretty solid,” Chang said of his first event. “Obviously disappointing for the first round a little bit. But I learned a lot from the first tournament. So overall I’m satisfied with it.”
One of only two freshmen on the team, Chang has looked to up to some of the older players for advice and support in his initial collegiate golf campaign.
“[Senior John] Fagan, [freshman Jacob] Stockl — I mean almost everyone on the team I asked some questions,” Chang said. “Things like, ‘What do I do in this position?’ and ‘What do you think about this?’ So, they’re guiding me pretty well so far.”
Like the women’s team, the men also look to develop good team dynamics as they move forward early in the season.
“I felt left out on the last tournament,” Chang said. “I think we just need to work on team chemistry, preparation, having high standards. Just mental toughness — stuff like that.”
The men look to rebound in a strong way at the upcoming Rutgers Invitational in Piscataway.
The women’s team is off from tournament play until next Friday, when it travels to New Haven, Conn., for the Yale Women’s Intercollegiate. Despite having a successful Bucknell Invitational in the first event of the fall, the Knights know the season is only beginning and there are facets of the sport they need to work on, like their short game.
“Jumping right into [the Bucknell Invitational], we only had two days of tournament practice, and that was only playing,” said sophomore Kortnie Maxoutopoulis. “So we didn’t really get any time to develop any areas of our game that we felt we needed to.”
Maxoutopoulis, who led the Knights at Bucknell with a final stroke tally of 229 for all three rounds, looks to continue to be a catalyst for the team.
“I feel like I played well,” she said. “My game was really solid and consistent. My putting is a work in progress, but I’m definitely developing a lot since the end of last year.”
With five true freshmen on Rutgers’ roster this year, Maxoutopoulis knows she and senior co-captains Brittany Weddell and Karen Cash need to set a good example in mentoring the young squad. Much of it will come with developing team chemistry, which the Knights have 11 days to work on.
“We spend a lot of time together at practice every day, obviously,” Maxoutopoulis said. “So we get to know one another. There are really good team dynamics.”