Knights finish second in home invite behind strong start
The saga of second-place finishes continued this weekend for the Rutgers women’s golf team, this time at the Rutgers Invitational on Busch campus as it fell to fellow metropolitan counterpart Long Island by one stroke.
Nonetheless, the morale of the Scarlet Knights has not faltered.
“We are close. We have finished second three times this fall,” said head coach Kari Williams. “We will get there. The players are committed, and so am I. We believe in what we are doing.”
In the days leading up to the Rutgers Invitational, the Knights had focus and determination to win.
Junior Gabrielle Sacheli and sophomore Taylor Clark led the charge, scoring a 72 and 73, respectively, on the par 71 Rutgers Golf Course. Their scores positioned Rutgers comfortably with a six-stroke cushion lead entering the second and final round.
The first round ended triumphantly for the rejuvenated Knights.
Saturday morning opened with dismal weather conditions and a one-hour rain delay, which foreshadowed Rutgers’ play in the final round.
By the day’s end, the Knights watched their six-stroke lead disappear in the blink of an eye.
“Gabrielle competed hard finishing third, but we came up one stroke short after two days of play. I wanted our first team title. The team wanted it,” Williams said. “We always want to be competitive. I want to see the players grind it on the golf course and make great pars in really tough conditions.”
Consequently, a Long Island’s team that was led by the dynamic duo of Cristina Felip and Brianna Maynard — who finished first and fourth, respectively — proved too much to handle down the stretch.
Rutgers did show strides, though, in its level of play and mindset, especially Sacheli.
“I feel like I played very consistent the past two days.” Sacheli said. “I’m happy with my ball striking and the attitude and mindset I had out there, and I think that is what really helped me.”
The top-five teams finished Long Island (+40), Rutgers (+41), Saint Francis (+52), Pennsylvania (+69) and St. John’s (+72).
Although the much-anticipated weekend for Williams ended without claiming the throne on the podium, she was grateful for the opportunity of hosting an event like the Rutgers Invitational.
“I had a lot of support from the athletic department and the golf course staff,” Williams said. “The invitational was a great success because of the support the team has everyday and especially during the days leading up to the event and throughout the event.”
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