Whatley wins individual title as Rutgers takes seventh at Janney Invitational
The Rutgers men’s golf team wrapped up play in Richmond, Virginia on Tuesday as it completed its second tournament of the fall at the Janney Invitational.
As a team, the Scarlet Knights finished 7th in the 12 team field and shot an impressive 4-under-par through the three-round tournament, a much-improved performance from their 25-over-par, 13th place finish last week in Madison at the Badger Invitational. Perhaps the most encouraging part of their showing in Richmond was that they improved with each round.
The first round was their worst, but still not bad as they shot a 1-over-par. They then followed that up with a 1-under-par second round, which then led to a great 5-under-par third and final round. It was clear that Rutgers was finding its strokes as the tournament went along.
West Virginia took home the crown after shooting a superb 22-under-par to land it atop the leaderboard. Virginia Tech finished right behind them with a 14-under-par performance, with Maryland rounding out the top-three 1 stroke behind them at 13-under-par.
Even with the Knights’ strong team performance, the focus was on the individual play of a few of their stars.
Senior captain Toks Pedro finished in the top-10 for the second straight tournament after tying for 10th with a score of 211 (71-71-69). His most impressive round was his last as he shot a 69 (-3). Pedro racked up five birdies and 11 pars in the final round.
Freshman Christopher Gotterup also produced a fine tournament as he finished tied for 12th with a 212 (70-72-70), moving up three spots after his 15th place finish last week in Madison.
But the most impressive Scarlet Knight in Richmond was freshman Oliver Whatley, who netted his first individual title in just his second ever collegiate tournament. Whatley finished with an outstanding score of 206 (65-72-69), which was good for 10-under-par, placing him alone at the top of the leaderboard. After an excellent first round of 7-under-par golf, Whatley shot par in the second round.
Going into the third and final round, the freshman needed to bounce back in order to bring home the title and he did just that. Whatley shined under pressure as he sunk three birdies and an eagle on his way to a 3-under-par final round to land him 1 stroke ahead of the second-place finisher.
With the victory, Whatley became the first individual champion for Rutgers Golf since 2013, when Jacob Stockl took home the Rutgers Invitational crown. In addition to the overall win, Whatley also finished atop the field in par four scoring at 7-under-par, tied for second with thirteen birdies, and tied for first with his lone eagle.
It was quite the two days for the rising star. But since he was not in the Knights' official starting lineup, it held back the team's overall finish. Look for him to be a starter when Rutgers heads to Bridgeport, West Virginia on October 8 for its next tournament.
The Knights' time in Richmond was a huge confidence booster for the whole team, as it bounced back strong from their sub-par performance last week in Madison. With young rising stars in the mix for the Rutgers, things continue to look up for them.
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