Knights place second at invite despite wind conditions
The Rutgers women’s golf team competed Oct. 6 and 7 at the historic Saint Andrew’s Golf Club in the St. John’s Invitational.
The Scarlet Knights battled through 17 mile-per-hour winds — with gusts reaching 20 to 30 mph first day — and posted fair numbers.
But Rutgers was greeted with significantly better weather conditions the second day on America’s oldest golf course and carried a chip on its shoulder to finish the St. John’s Invitational in second place among 12 teams with a 629 final scorecard.
“We fought back today to earn that second-place finish,” first-year head coach Kari Williams said of Rutgers’ performance. “The conditions improved [Tuesday], but they improved for everyone in the field, which makes it that much more difficult to make up strokes. I am proud of all six players. We played a very difficult golf course in tough conditions and they just kept competing.”
Despite falling short to Seton Hall in the tournament by 15 strokes due in part to the performance of Cassie Pantelas, who shot a tournament-best 143, all five Knights improved upon their first-day scores.
Junior Gabrielle Sacheli led Rutgers’ charge, scoring a team-best 74 in round two after an 81 in round one to finish sixth in the 68-player field.
Sophomore Taylor Clark and junior Racquel Zurick also finished 8th and 9th, respectively.
The strong performances from freshmen Tatum Jackson and Emily Mills were also highlights of the tournament — both shot nine and 12 strokes better in round two, respectively.
Williams recognized her team’s exceptional effort.
“Gabrielle, Racquel, Tatum and Taylor posted good scores for us today and that got us out of the hole we dug yesterday,” Williams said.
In the first day of competition, Rutgers labored through the inclement weather and finished the day in fourth out of 12 schools with a 325 score, trailing Long Island (310), Seton Hall (311) and Siena (324).
Zurick led the Knights in round one, tying for 13th with a 79 on a par 71 with two birdies. Clark followed closely behind with an equally impressive 80 and 10 par.
Having battled through difficult weather conditions and managing to improve upon its first round showing, Williams is optimistic looking ahead.
“We play our own invitational on Friday and Saturday. Our expectation is to defend our home turf and compete for the win. Both the medalist and team title,” Williams said. “We will have to play two solid rounds and I would really like to hand out a bunch of hardware to Scarlet Knights on Saturday afternoon.”
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