Rutgers place 11th at Wisconsin tournament
After the three rounds at the Badger Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, the Rutgers men’s golf team finished for a combined 919 (301-308-310), which was good for 11th place out of 13 teams at the University Ridge Golf Course.
The final result on Tuesday afternoon was not the placing Rutgers had hoped for. The team did not improve from round to round, with the Scarlet Knights shooting over par in each round.
But, perhaps it was the sudden change in weather conditions that can be blamed for the Scarlet Knights’ poor performance. Over the past couple of days, the weather dropped from an approximate mid 80 degrees to 45 degrees. As if that wasn’t enough, there were also five- to- eight mph winds coming in from the Northeast side of the course.
These conditions most likely resulted in, not just Rutgers, but all teams to shoot over par in the final round. But even harsh conditions are not to be taken as an excuse for poor results for the Knights. Rutgers won’t tbuy any of that, though.
“No, I won’t blame the weather conditions,” said head coach Rob Shutte. “[For] all three rounds, there were two-out-of-five guys who were not sharp. Nobody performed like they should [have]. Our lineup was not at its best today.”
Shutte also stressed that the unfamiliarity of the course, was one of the reasons that factored in why some players didn’t perform well.
Junior Jonathan Chang struggled throughout the tournament by his standards. Still, he managed to perform relatively well, finishing 17th overall in the individual ranking shooting 222 (70-78-74). He was the only Knight to shoot under par in any round.
“It’s a good finish. I’m not surprised,” Shutte said of Chang’s play. “It was a B plus, maybe A minus performance.”
But Shutte said the weight of the team cannot be held on one person only.
“We need four scores. We are only getting production from two or three [players],” he said.
Chang was not all too pleased at his performance, despite the respectable finish.
“I’m pretty disappointed. That was a joke,” Chang said. “I had one of [my] worst rounds this year.”
Chang also expressed that he expects a whole lot more than what the stat sheet represented after the final round. Freshman Toks Pedro and senior Jacob Stockl also agreed that the weather was not to blame.
“It wasn’t our greatest tournament, [but] weather should never be an excuse,” Pedro said. “Everyone is playing the same [course], everyone is prepared for the weather.”
Despite the unwanted results from the tournament, Pedro took a positive note from this experience that allowed him to make strides for improvement.
“Every time we have a [losing experience], we get to learn from the tournament,” he added.
Pedro finished the tournament with a 229 (77-76-76), which also was good for 40th place on the individual ranking. Looking ahead, he believes that putting is the biggest part of the game.
“I gotta get my putting figured out,” Pedro said. “My other aspects [are fine].”
Stockl was surprisingly the worst performer for the Knights, shooting for 240 (82-82-76), good for 68th overall in the individual ranking. By his standards, he surely expected better play.
“Coach puts a lot of leadership into me. I [have to] make sure to get everyone sharp,” Stockl said.
Just like his coach and teammates, he too thought the weather conditions were irrelative.
“We know we are a really good team that wins tournaments, even with [these] conditions,” he said. “Weather [only] played a factor, as in it was harder to score.”
As the team returns back home to practice to begin its last month of play, beginning with the Maryland Invitational in two weeks, the entire hopes to bounce back with better results. Shutte expressed that he’d like to see who would be the first guy at practice first thing in the morning, despite the late arrival from Wisconsin.
“We are going to see whose hungry,” Shutte said.