Coach returns to old home course
The Rutgers men’s golf team has had many ups and downs so far this season.
Entering their last tournament of the fall season on Saturday and Sunday, the Lehigh Invitational, the Scarlet Knights have finished 10th, second, 11th and sixth, respectively, in their first four tournaments.
Although Rutgers is the defending champion of the tournament in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the team is coming off a letdown in its previous outing in the Maryland Invitational.
With little time to prepare for Lehigh, head coach Rob Shutte said the team used practice to address mental mistakes that were made.
“Some of those mistakes, which are mental, can be overcome through experience, which takes time,” Shutte said. “We have seen better decision-making and overall much better play each and every week. We just need to continue to step on the pedal and see if we can break through [and win] by having all five guys playing to their potential at the same time.”
Despite the fact the Knights had a short week of practice, the trip to Lehigh is almost like coming to a second home course given their coach’s former history with it.
Shutte was the former Lehigh women’s golf coach, spending two seasons there before taking the position at Rutgers. He said he’s excited to return to his former home course for several reasons.
“As defending champions, this is the only tournament we will have a chance to defend this year,” Shutte said. “For myself, it’s always good to go into a tournament feeling like I have the guys very prepared, since I know the course so well. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to finish off the fall season, that has had some inconsistent play, with a very positive note entering the off-season.”
Junior Jonathan Chang, senior Jacob Stokl and freshman Toks Pedro lead the Knights.
Chang, a catalyst in keeping Rutgers competitive this year with consistent play pacing the Knights, has finished first three times and second one time among the Knights in tournaments this year.
Stockl, entering his last fall season tournament of his career, is looking to return to his former form where he finished second overall in the Rutgers Invitational, losing by one stroke to Fairfield’s Steve Burak.
But Pedro, coming off a strong performance in the Maryland Invitational where he finished tied for 24th in a 75-player field, could be the Knights’ biggest wildcard.
Other Knights hoping to make an impact are freshmen Jack Panagos and Matt Holuta, sophomores Michael Howe, Ryan Rose and Chase Wheatley and junior Louis Bodine.
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