Rutgers rebounds from deficit to finish second at invite
After a dismal first round of golf Saturday at the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., the Rutgers men’s golf team tied for fourth place in the second round with Fordham and looked like it would end a fall season plagued by ups and downs on a low note entering the spring season.
But an experienced Scarlet Knights team, one year removed from winning the Lehigh Invitational, displayed poise in Sunday’s final round, finishing in second place in the 12-team field.
The resiliency of the team impressed head coach Rob Shutte.
“We competed hard,” Shutte said. “Conditions were the hardest we played in so far this fall, so all the scores were up. All the teams had to play in them, so mentally competing hard to finish the tournament was important for us to do.”
The finish saw the Knights trailing only Towson, which finished the par-72 course with a 602 scorecard compared to Rutgers’ 621 scorecard. John Hulede led Towson, who finished first in the 66-player field.
Lafayette, Fordham and Villanova rounded out the top five, respectively.
Junior Jonathan Chang led the Knights’ effort once again, pacing the team throughout to finish tied for fifth. Chang’s solid play scored him a 74 in round one and a 77 in round two, trailing tournament leader Hulede by just three strokes.
“Chang is a great player,” Shutte said. “He has the total package of physical talent and mentally being in a good mindset where he can play good golf.”
Entering the second round trailing Towson, Lafayette, Siena and Fordham, Rutgers managed to jump ahead three places with average play from a cast of players.
Sophomore Michael Howe showcased his talents with a performance good enough to finish tied for eighth after bettering his first round score of 79 to a 75 in round two, not too far behind Chang’s.
Senior Jacob Stockl was just shy of a top-10 finish, shooting a 155 good enough for 11th overall while freshman Toks Pedro, who could not improve on his performance at the Maryland Invitational, rounded out the Knights’ top four, shooting a 161 to tie for 30th overall.
Given the outcome, Shutte felt Rutgers could have done more in its fall season finale.
“No one in particular played [well] or [badly],” Shutte said. “All [players] had their moments of things they did well and shots or decisions they would like to change or have back.”
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