August 14, 2018 | ° F

Team places first at Lehigh Invitational

The Rutgers men’s golf team had very high expectations entering the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.

The Scarlet Knights did not disappoint.

Rutgers won the seven-team tournament, carding a 610 to close its fall season in style. The Knights beat host Lehigh by eight strokes.

Though the win marks the Knights’ second tournament victory this season, head coach Rob Shutte still feels there is room to improve.

“I think every time you enter a tournament, you want to win it and we accomplished that. So in that respect you have to be satisfied,” Shutte said. “At the same time, we shot two rounds over 300, which is the first time we have done that this year in any tournament. … So overall I am satisfied, but tomorrow if you ask me the same question I’ll tell you I’m probably not happy.”

Doug Walters’ performance led the Knights. The senior captain finished first in the 45-player field, carding a 150 to capture individual medalist honors. He also led the tournament with seven birdies. The triumph was the second time a Rutgers player has won a tournament this fall season. For Walters, it was a memorable achievement.  

“Other than the team title, golf is an individual sport and it’s something I have always been working for,” Walters said. “I circled this tournament on my calendar this fall. … I am just so thrilled and elated of getting it done team-wise and as an individual as well.”

As a team, the victory was a collective effort. All five Knights finished among the top 20 competitors, including four finishers in the top 10.

Senior Jonathan Renza, who led the first day Sunday, tied for second with a 151. Renza shot a 79 the second day, which lost him the lead after shooting a 72 Sunday. While he finished agonizingly close to winning his first college tournament, he could not be happier for his fellow senior.

“If someone was going to beat me, it’s better if it was one of my teammates and I am happy for Doug,” Renza said.

Freshman Michael Howe, junior Jacob Stockl and sophomore Jonathan Chang rounded out the Knights scorecard.

Howe finished tied for sixth, carding a 154 for a career-best finish. Stockl, who won the Knights’ other individual tournament this season at the Rutgers Invitational on Sept. 14, finished tied for 10th with a 156. Chang finished tied for 17th, carding a 159 to finish in the top 20 for the fourth time in five tournaments.

Junior Hyung Mo Kim and freshmen Ryan Rose and Chase Wheatley also competed for the Knights as individuals. Wheatley finished tied for 11th with a 157. Kim finished tied for 17th with a 159, and Rose finished tied for 31st with a 164 scorecard.

After finishing second at this invite last year, a victory this season shows Rutgers’ progress.

“I certainly didn’t shy away from telling the guys that we should be winning the tournament,” Shutte said. “I felt that we should and I wanted to add more pressure that way to see how we would respond knowing that we were the favorites and we responded well enough to win.”

For updates on the Rutgers men’s golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

By Sean Stewart

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