After a slow start to the spring season, the Binghamton golf team picked up some steam with a solid outing at the Lehigh Valley Collegiate Invitational earlier this week. The Bearcats finished seventh in a field of 20 teams across two rounds of golf, five places higher than their finish last week at William & Mary.
“It was a really good event,” said BU head coach Bernie Herceg. “There was a lot of consistency out of all the players. A couple of the players are looking really solid going into next week’s tournament. Overall, a good event.”
The Bearcat team featured the same five players that it did a week ago, and most of them saw marked improvement from the spring season’s opening invitational. Sophomore Justin Lane returned to form and came back to the top of the Bearcat scoresheet, once again leading his teammates in the final tally. Lane finished in a tie for 12th place on the individual leaderboard with a two-round score of 147, and his second-day, even round of 72 was the best individual round by any Bearcat.
Junior Ryan Rodriguez and senior Zak Ottman both finished in a tie for 27th at six above par, and sophomore Nacho Glagovsky placed one shot behind them in a tie for 33rd. All Bearcats finished in the top 60 out of 114 golfers, compared to just three BU golfers last week.
“The Williamsburg event was good for us because it prepared us better for this event,” Herceg said. “The conditions were similar. It was very cool and windy, and playing in the wind is tough. These guys grinded out there, and if their putters were working a little bit better, their scores would have been so much more in contention.”
As the team usually does, Binghamton improved from the first round to the second round. The team shot an even 300, or plus-12, combined in the first round, placing itself within striking distance of the top spot. That top spot belonged to Colgate at the end of the first day, with a first-round tally of 290.
On the second day, the Bearcats came out even better than the first, with good ball-striking and well-placed shots, but solid putting eluded the team, putting a hamper on the Bearcats’ scoring and keeping them firmly entrenched in the upper-middle section of the leaderboard. The Bearcats shot a combined 296 in the closing round of the invitational, completing the tournament with an overall score of 20 over par.
“That’s golf,” Herceg said. “Sometimes you put a good stroke on it and they don’t go in, other days you’re making everything. It was one of those rounds where we couldn’t get the momentum going … I feel like the guys are really coming together ball-striking wise, and getting closer where we need to be, and now it’s about scoring.”
Colgate went on to freefall down the leaderboard to finish in sixth; first place overall went to Robert Morris-PA behind a second-round 287, the lowest-scoring round of any team. Individually, sophomore Chris Tanabe of Bucknell claimed the top spot, hanging on despite a second-round 72.
Next on the schedule for the golf team is the Villanova Collegiate Golf Tournament, the team’s third invitational in as many weeks. The two-day invitational gets started on Monday, April 8 and concludes the following day in Villanova, Pennsylvania.