Poor first round holds back Rutgers
Coming off its first tournament victory since 2009, the Rutgers men’s golf team had high hopes for the Badger Invitational in Madison, Wis.
The Scarlet Knights finished seventh yesterday in the competitive 14-team tournament. While the team finished among the top five the last two rounds, head coach Rob Shutte believes the team could have done better had they not dug themselves an early hole.
“There were good scoring conditions in the first round and we just didn’t capitalize while other teams were shooting really low,” Shutte said.
The outcome marks the Knights’ lowest result this season, having finished third at the Rutgers Invitational on Sept. 14 and winning the Hartford Hawks Invitational on Sept. 24.
While Shutte believes there are no moral victories, he was still proud of how his team fought through adversity after finishing the first round in 12th place.
“The conditions were really tough with winds over 20 miles per hour, but play-wise we got better in the second round and we battled really hard [yesterday],” Shutte said. “We’ve generally gotten better round to round in most tournaments we play and I think that’s kind of a reflection on the mental toughness of the guys.”
Sophomore Jonathan Chang led the Knights, carding a 221 to finish tied for 14th in the 74- player field. Chang has placed among the top 15 in all three tournaments.
Despite his success, Chang still feels he could have done more.
“It feels pretty good. Obviously I want to be top 10 or top five, but there’s nothing wrong with being consistent so it’s definitely a step moving forward,” Chang said. “I definitely could have played a lot better [yesterday] and through the week, but I’m pretty satisfied with my round [yesterday].”
Freshman Michael Howe also contributed for the Knights. The Temecula, Calif., native tied for 24th, carding a 223.
“Each tournament I take something new from it, whether it’s the travel experience or adapting to the college game,” Howe said. “I think I’m definitely growing every day as a player and I definitely think I’m learning each round.”
South Carolina won the Invitational with a team score of 856 to finish eight-under par and 24 strokes ahead of second-place Kansas. Caleb Sturgeon led the Gamecocks — the only team to finish below par — by scoring 10-under (206) to capture the individual title and tie the 18-hole course record with his opening round of 65.