Team wins first for RU since 2009
The Rutgers men’s golf team won the 17-team Harford Hawks Invitational yesterday in South Kent, Conn. It was the team’s first tournament victory since September 2009, when it captured the Rutgers Invitational.
The Scarlet Knights carded a 868 to finish nine strokes ahead of second place, and all five Knights placed among the top-21 entries.
“All five players had huge contributions,” said head coach Rob Shutte. “Everyone played their part at different times and it really was a true team win. I think it makes it better that we did it in that fashion.”
Senior Doug Walters led the way for the Knights, carding a four-under par (212) to finish tied for second in the 96-player field.
Walters ended minus-five in par-five scoring, minus-three in par-three scoring and had 14 birdies to finish the day with his highest-career placing.
“I personally have never finished inside the top one or two,” Walters said. “I was kind of nervous … but I came out of the gate firing and put pressure on the leader. It was highly competitive and it was a lot of fun.”
Sophomore Jonathan Chang and freshman Michael Howe finished in the top 20 as well. Chang carded a 222 with 10 birdies for an 11th-place finish. Howe carded a 224, including a great third round where he shot a 68 and finished tied for 17th place with two eagles and eight birdies to his credit.
Coming off his individual victory Sept. 14 in the Rutgers Invitational, junior Jacob Stockl tied with senior Jonathan Renza for 21st, as both carded a 226. Stockl led the team with 34 pars.
Despite the impressive results, Chang still believes the team has a lot to improve on if they are to win on a consistent basis.
“I always felt last year we have been close in a lot of tournaments and getting the first one is always the hardest,” Chang said. “I would say it’s a huge stepping stone but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Tournament host Hartford secured second place at the Invitational with an 877 scorecard while Connecticut finished third. Hartford’s Evan Russel captured the individual title with a nine-under-par score of 207.
While the Knights understand there is work to be done, Walters believes the team is finally on the upswing.
“The past couple of years have been a rough road,” Walters said. “As a whole, as a program it definitely feels great, we all are taking it in. We haven’t won a tournament since 2009 so it feels awesome.”
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