The Binghamton golf team continued its slow start to the season last weekend at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational, hosted by Colgate University. After posting solid scores for the first two rounds of the tournament, the Bearcats struggled to find their game in the third and final round, dropping them down the leaderboard to a 14th-place finish out of 18 teams.
“We had a bad day,” said Binghamton head coach Bernie Herceg. “Some of our top players, they just didn’t play well. It’s tough to have that be our final round. I thought we were in an okay position coming into it — the guys felt good, [but] we didn’t play well.”
Unlike the opening tournament, where the Bearcats’ scores were consistently middle-of-the-road, Binghamton’s scores at Colgate were erratic, with its final round of 318 contrasting sharply with its scores from the first two rounds: 298 and 293, respectfully. The three-round total gave the Bearcats a plus-45 overall score for the weekend, with the final round being plus-30 alone.
“There [were] a few guys that didn’t putt well, and a couple of guys hit a couple of tee shots that weren’t as good as they could have been, and that escalated into a double bogey here and a double bogey there,” Herceg said. “It was a combination of the tee ball not being as solid, and the putting definitely hurt us, we didn’t have a good putting day either that day. It’s tough.”
The top scorer for the Bearcats was junior D.J. Griffiths, who finished in a tie for 12th place on the individual leaderboard. He shot a 220 over the course of the weekend, good for four-above-par. Griffiths was also responsible for the best individual round for Binghamton at Colgate when he put up a 71 in the second round, the only below-par round of any Bearcat.
“D.J. had a pretty consistent, solid tournament,” Herceg said. “It was good to see. It’s too bad that he didn’t finish as strong as he wanted in those last few holes, he could have came close to the top 10 — top five, even. His game looks good, it’s consistent, he’s putting well, so he’s looking good coming into the week.”
The first two rounds saw the Bearcats turn in solid performances, enough to place them well into the top half of the leaderboard. The team managed to capitalize on birdie opportunities on par-fives and the shorter par-fours while limiting its mistakes to single bogeys only. Between all five Bearcats, there were only three holes of double bogey or worse in the first two rounds.
In the third round, however, things began to unravel. The team scored fewer and fewer birdies, and the double bogeys began to pile up. Griffiths was the only BU team member to score below 80 for the round. The cumulative 318 was the highest-scoring round by any school at the invitational, resulting in the Bearcats’ 14th-place finish.
The Bearcats’ next invitational is the Cornell Fall Invitational, the final tournament before the Matthews Auto Collegiate Invitational, which BU hosts. Herceg acknowledged that the team has a lot of work to do to improve on the team’s slow start to the season.
“Coming into the week, coming into Cornell, we’re working hard on some scoring shots and trying to get a little more consistent off the tee so our scores are better and we have a chance to compete a little bit more going into this week,” Herceg said.
The Cornell Fall Invitational takes place this weekend, starting on Saturday, Sept. 14 from the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Ithaca, New York.