Rutgers ends season in disappointment with last-place finish at Big Ten Championship
As the 2017 season comes to a close, the Rutgers men’s golf team took a difficult loss at this year’s Big Ten Championship from April 28-30 by finishing in last with a final score of 892 (298-291-303). Junior team captain Matt Holuta led the Scarlet Knights by tying for 24th in a total score of 217 (70-72-75).
Illinois claimed the Big Ten title with a score of 829 (269-279-281). Placing second and third respectively were Northwestern and Ohio State.
Although Rutgers had a disappointing finish to conclude its spring season, the Knights had a strong start to their season by defeating both No. 2-seeded Michigan and No. 6-seeeded Ohio State at the Big Ten Match Play Championships in Palm Coast, Florida.
Rutgers continued its momentum into the Colleton River Collegiate where the Knights finished fifth in the field. A year ago, Rutgers concluded this tournament in 11th, showing the massive improvements the Knights have made over the past year.
The Seahawk Intercollegiate was Rutgers' next stop where the Knights placed ninth in the team standings. Rutgers struggled due to the adverse conditions of the course, but junior team captain Toks Pedro still put on a great performance to finish in the top three by tying for third in the individual standings.
Having a few weeks of training under its belt, the Knights were ready for the next wave of weekend tournaments by first competing at the Princeton Invitational where Rutgers put up a sixth place in the team standings. Again, Pedro led the Knights to place in the top eight, which posed well for Pedro and the rest of the team heading into the final weeks before the Big Ten Championships.
The Rutherford Intercollegiate Tournament posed a great challenge for Rutgers as the Knights concluded in ninth, four places lower than the fifth-place finish Rutgers had the previous year. This time, freshman Tony Jiang took hold of the top spot for the Knights in 17th place.
The final stop before Big Tens saw Rutgers finish eighth at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate. Coming back from a 12th place finish on the first day, the Knights climbed its way back up to conclude the tournament on a high note before heading off to Baltimore for the Big Ten Championships. At the Intercollegiate, Holuta and Gray tied together for 22nd in the field to lead the highest finishes for Rutgers.
Through all the ups and downs of the season, the Knights faltered in creating that momentum Rutgers had at the beginning of the season. Head Coach Rob Shutte was confident that the Knights could be dangerous at Big Tens if all five members showed consistency throughout the three days of competition. But Rutgers was not able to hold this consistency into the championship tournament.
It looks like the Knights have a lot of work to do heading into next year’s season. But Rutgers can take a look back at its performances over the season and learn how to create a season-long momentum to hold the Knights to a higher performance at the Big Ten Championships next spring.
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