Rutgers earns top three finish
The Rutgers men’s golf team embarked on its journey to University Park, Pa., for the Rutherford Intercollegiate at Penn State this past weekend.
The event marked the final test for the Scarlet Knights before their most important event of the year with the Big Ten Championships looming next weekend.
Competing on the Blue Course at Penn State, one of the more daunting Big Ten courses, the event provided the golfers with ample opportunity to evaluate themselves before heading into their final tournament of the year.
Rutgers began play on Saturday morning on the par-71, 7,202-yard course with a long day ahead, since the first two rounds (36 holes) were slated for the day.
Head coach Rob Shutte decided to use a lineup consisting of senior Jacob Stockl, sophomore Ryan Rose, sophomore Michael Howe, freshman Matt Holuta and freshman Toks Pedro.
Freshman Jack Panagos and junior Louis Bodine participated in the event as well, but as individuals.
Through 36 holes, Stockl was in a five-way tie for 25th place in the 75-player field. He shot a plus-three, 74 in the first round followed by a five over par 76 in round two. He concluded day one at eight over par with a total score of 150.
“He’s hard on himself,” Shutte said. “He goes into these tournaments thinking he has a good chance to be in contention down the stretch. He didn’t give himself a chance to do that with the play in the first two rounds. He certainly continued to compete hard.”
Bodine sat in a tie for 34th place after Saturday’s competition. The junior put up a 152 total mark with a plus-four, 75 and a plus-six, 77. Overall, he shot a 10 over par on day one.
Howe hit a first round, 70 and a second round, 71 for a 141 combined total. He had the top scorecard for the Knights on Saturday. Howe was one-under in round one and even in the second round. The sophomore was in the top three at the conclusion of play on Saturday.
Holuta finished day one at five over par. He shot a plus-five 76 on the first 18 holes and an even, 71 on the second 18. Holuta hit a total mark of 147 — good enough for a tie for 13th.
Pedro ended day one tied with Holuta for 13th place after shooting a five over par, 147. He had a four over par, 75 in round one and a plus-one, 72 in the second round.
Panagos posted a 77 in rounds one and two. He hit a plus-12 on Saturday and finished the day in a tie for 50th place in the standings.
As a unit, Rutgers shot a plus-17, 585 through 36 holes and was in the top-three. The Knights had a 295 in the first round followed by a 290 in round two. The team sat six strokes behind Eastern Michigan and 13 strokes in back of the leader, Penn State.
The team continued play on Sunday morning and needed to keep its feet on the gas pedal to maintain its high position in the standings.
Rutgers did just that.
Howe shot a plus-four, 75 to boost his score to 216. He finished in a tie for fifth place with a plus-three for the tournament.
“Yeah, it was great,” Shutte said. “He’s been kinda really hot and cold at times. … I’m very excited for him to not just play a couple good rounds but, actually finish off a tournament in tough conditions today. He got off to a slow start and battled and played a tough round the rest of the way. I was excited for him.”
Howe was happy to be in a position to win the event on the last day.
“Yeah, I played pretty well yesterday, and I put myself in a chance to win a tournament finally,” Howe said on his play. “I kind of struggled a little bit this year and I’m finally getting to play the way I know I can.”
Stockl ended the Rutherford Intercollegiate in sole possession of 20th place. The veteran golfer rose five spots in the standings after hitting a two over par 73 on Sunday. Stockl had a 223 final total and shot a plus-10 for the event.
“He had a good round today in the toughest conditions so, it kind of showed his ability to control the golf ball,” Shutte said. “He’s one of our best at keeping the ball down out of the wind.”
Although his wasn’t in contention to win the event, Stockl bolstered his team and helped to give it a chance for a victory.
“This week, I mean, I played okay,” he said. “I really wanted a chance to win the tournament, but I was still in a really good position that I could help the team in big ways. I think that’s what I did.”
Pedro had a plus-six 77 in the third round and raised his score to 224. He finished the tournament with an 11 over par in 21st place.
After three rounds, Holuta ended up with a plus-17 for the event and a mark of 230 to tie for 40th in the standings. He shot an 83 on Sunday.
Panagos put up another 77 in the third round and finished at 18 over par for the event. He had a 231 total good enough for a tie for 46th place. Bodine also hit a plus-18 on the weekend and joined Panagos in a tie for 46th after posting a 79 on Sunday.
Rose shot a plus-22 at the Rutherford Intercollegiate and earned a tie for 56th place in the standings. He had an 80 in round one followed by a round two, 79, and a 76 in the final round.
Rutgers kept the pedal to the medal and picked up a top-five finish in consecutive weeks. The team ended the tournament in third place with a total mark of 886. The golfers put up a plus-17, 301 in the third round and shot a plus-34 overall.
Penn State won on its home course with a plus-16, 868 total. Eastern Michigan finished in second with an 876.
“The goal entering all of these tournaments is to have a chance come the final round, and we did,” Shutte said. “It wasn’t as close as we would like ... We had a shot so, overall, when you have a shot to win that’s good. Certainly, we didn’t play our best ... The conditions were tougher, all of the scores were a touch higher so, it was an opportunity to make up some ground. We didn’t, so from that perspective it was disappointing ... (but) overall in the tournament, we were in contention going into the final round, so (we'll) just keep doing that.”
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