Freezing temperatures hinder Rutgers at Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational
Enduring frigid conditions at the Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational, the Rutgers men's golf team found itself pitted in a grudge match. The Scarlet Knights heated up in snowy, 22-degree weather early Saturday morning.
Unfortunately, the harsh weather did not taper off, cornering the team in a difficult dilemma throughout the weekend. The Knights shot 65 over par after the conclusion of both rounds to earn an eighth-place finish.
No. 43 Arkansas won the Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational with a total score of 540.
Despite the harsh circumstances, freshman Matt Holuta said he thought the team held its own.
“It was okay — not great,” Holuta said. “We battled the conditions hard and we competed hard. Not quite the outcome that I was looking for as an individual and as a team, but I’m definitely proud of the way we competed and battled the conditions.”
Head coach Rob Shutte was concerned about the overall condition of the course as well as how the greens would play before the tournament began. The greens had very little time to grow before play started due to the abnormal cold winter Maryland has had.
“For this time of year down here the way the weather is, they (greens) played alright,” said Shutte. “They were a little bumpy.”
Aside from the subpar conditions the course, the team also had to compete without its top golfer. Senior Jacob Stockl did not compete due to disciplinary reasons.
Despite all the obstacles, Rutgers played a solid round of the golf on Saturday. As a team, the Knights compiled a 326 score after round one and held 13th in the standings. Although the golfers played well, they were in a deep hole after the round, trailing by 26 shots to William & Mary.
Junior Louis Bodine and Holuta stood out for Rutgers.
Bodine concluded the round for 15th individually. He shot a plus six, 77, that included a plus three on both the front and back nine.
Bodine, meanwhile, birdied on the par four, 14th hole, but had a rough time on the 18th. It took him seven shots to get the ball in the hole as he double bogeyed on the par five.
Bodine finished 13 strokes behind Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Matt Kirsch for first in the individual standings.
Holuta shot a plus-10, 81 and finished on a tie for 46th after round one. Holuta struggled in the first part of the day, shooting a plus-seven but improved on the back nine with a three over par. He bogeyed on three holes on the front and double-bogeyed on two more. In total, Holuta had five pars on the back nine and birdied on the 14th.
Sophomore Michael Howe shot a plus 12 on the round while freshman Toks Pedro hit 15 over par and sophomore Ryan Rose shot 14 over.
William & Mary shot a 300 to grab the top spot in the standings after round one while No. 43 Arkansas was in second with a 302 and Towson shot a 312 to finish in third.
Even though their golf in the first round was iffy at best, the Knights stuck to their original strategy heading into Sunday’s play.
“I pretty much stuck to my game plan,” Holuta said. “I just tried to survive the conditions and get the ball down in the hole as best I could.”
Conditions did not get any better in round two of play. In fact, they only got worse.
Rutgers teed off in 17-degree weather with winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour.
“I’m from Jersey. I’m used to the cold,” Bodine said. “It didn’t really phase me. I have to be prepared to play in any kind of weather.”
Bodine and Holuta both played solid golf on Sunday.
On the front, Holuta was five over par. He hit for par on four holes and had a birdie on the fourth. However, Holuta’s score on the front was bloated after a triple bogey on the seventh hole.
Bodine shot a plus-four on the front, which included two birdies on holes three and eight. He also had three pars.
Rose hit for par on every hole in the front except for two, shooting a bogey on the second hole and a double bogey on the fifth.
The trend of sound play continued for the Knights on the back nine.
Bodine birdied on the 10th and earned five pars to finish the round at five over. Individually, he finished in a six way tie for 21st place.
“I thought he did a good job of embracing the conditions,” Shutte said. “He made aggressive swings at the ball and kept plotting along like he was a man on a mission to not let the conditions be a factor for him.”
Holuta concluded the day with a plus-eight. He hit par on six holes in the back nine with three bogeys and finished at 49th in the standings.
Rose concluded the round at five over. He birdied on the 16th and closed strong with a par on the 18th hole to grab the 57th spot in the standings.
Howe finished 41st overall, birdying the 15th and had 12 pars for a plus five in the second round.
As a unit, Rutgers shot a 307 in the second round to boost its total to 633. Despite the top-10 finish, Shutte believes the team can do better.
“I’m happy with the way the prepared. We’re not happy with the result," he said. "I don’t think anybody is, so there is a balance there. We’re happy with the way we prepared, we’re happy with the game plan. I’m happy with the way they tried their best to compete, but the result is not something to be happy with. I think there is a balance there.”
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