September 22, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers takes second place at home

Photo by Luo Zhengchen |

Senior Michael Chang returned to the golf course for the RU Invitational after being sidelined for nine months with an injury.

The Rutgers men’s golf team capped off its opening tournament of the season Saturday afternoon. 

The stormy weather did not reflect the results of the event. The Scarlet Knights picked up a second place finish at the Rutgers Invitational to tee off the fall portion of the 2015 season.

It marks the fourth consecutive season that the Knights have finished runners up at their home Invitational.

Towson won the tournament with an incredible minus 14,838 team total. The Tigers shot a first round 277, followed by a 283 in round two and a 278 on Saturday.

“We didn’t win. Hats off to Towson, they played awesome," said head coach Rob Shutte. "They came in here, they have two lefties from New Jersey. This golf course suits lefties and they’re from New Jersey, they knew the course and that was huge for them.”

Shutte was evidently pleased with the way his team performed and competed.

“We left shots out there but we could absolutely hold our head high,” he said. “We beat a lot of other teams with good players. We saw some great things from everybody at different times, so overall a very successful week other than we’ve finished second four straight years now.”

Sophomores Matt Holuta and Toks Pedro stood above the rest for Rutgers, piloting the team to a solid outing.

Holuta earned a top-10 finish with a tie for seventh place. The Indiana, Pennsylvania, native and Big Ten Men’s Golf Player to Watch selection shot a one under par with a score of 212. Holuta shot a pair of 71's on Friday and a 70 in the third round.

Pedro, a fellow Big Ten Men’s Golf Player to Watch honoree, compiled a plus-two, 215 mark at the RU Invitational. He had a first round 72, a second round 70 and a third round 73 to earn a tie for 11th place in the standings.

“I think I played well overall,” Pedro said. “I had a few mistakes here and there and unfortunately didn’t finish very strong today but, you know, I’m proud of how I played over 54 holes. It’s a good sign for all of the tournaments ahead.”

Shutte is impressed by the high quality of play that Pedro and Holuta have demonstrated in Piscataway as second-year golfers.

“They’re ready to go as sophomores,” Shutte said. “They’re ready to go. Their demeanor, their poise — they look the part. Instead of their junior year, they’re ready to go their sophomore year, which is exciting for us.”

After missing more than nine months due to injury, senior Jonathan Chang completed his comeback and arrived on the Banks to compete with his teammates. Chang’s presence in the lineup is a huge boost for Rutgers. The Valencia, California, native shot a round one 70, a second round 76 and a third round 73 in his first appearance this fall.

He had a 219 individual total and finished in a tie for 20th place in the standings.

“I think we played with a lot of heart,” Chang said. “Obviously, we can always look back and save some stokes here and there. But I think we had to really be prepared very well leading up to this tournament. Obviously, it rained so it almost kind of didn’t help us here and there. Results wise, I think we’re okay but obviously, we want to win. But coming from me, I try to keep the results out of my head and just stay in the process.”

Because Rutgers played host to this tournament, Shutte employed the use of a second team in order to get some of his younger players some collegiate golf experience.

“Well, it’s a great way to start the year because — I don’t want to say its practice, it’s a tournament — but yet to have everyone in there to start our year, it’s a way to ... compete and qualify against each other for the next tournament,” Shutte said.

Senior Louis Bodine put together an excellent outing while playing with the Rutgers second team. Bodine shot a 212 to pick up a tie for seventh in the individual standings.

The Flemington, New Jersey, native had a hole-in-one on Saturday’s play on hole 11.

Freshmen Matthew Mourin and Matthew Walsh got their first tastes of collegiate golf with the Rutgers B-Team last weekend.

“Great,” Shutte said on the performances of the two rookie golfers. “They, again, didn’t play up to what they wanted but they got their feet wet. I think they feel like they’re probably a lot more a part of the team having played that first event. They know what it’s like. I mean, they haven’t been on the road yet but they know what it’s sort of like. They’re smiling right now so they’re kind of incorporated now with the team better.”

For updates on the Rutgers men’s golf team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Evan Bruno

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