Over the weekend, the Binghamton golf team traveled to Maryland to compete in the Towson Fall Invitational and complete its fall season. Although the Bearcats finished in the bottom half of teams, placing fifth out of eight, the event saw major highlights for BU, including freshman Shawn Colella’s best tournament thus far.
Colella began the tournament hot, scoring 71 and 69 in the first two rounds, respectively. That was good enough for four under par and third in the tournament through day one. Colella’s round two score of 69 was the best single-round performance for the Bearcats. It was also the freshman’s career-best collegiate round. He finished round three with a score of 76 to finish even par for the tournament, placing fifth.
“We’re very fortunate to have [Colella] join our program,” said Binghamton head coach Bernie Herceg. “He gained some experience this fall which was great, almost played in every event. But this last tournament at Towson, having the under-par rounds just shows what he’s going to be capable of doing for us in the future … I don’t think he scored as well as he could have his last round. He missed a few putts here or there and could have finished second or third, but overall a great tournament for him.”
BU’s second-lowest scorer was graduate student Justin Lane, who finished eight over par throughout the tournament. His three-round performance displayed scores of 75, 73 and 76. This is Lane’s 12th career top-20 finish. Herceg said Lane has been more to the team than just the team’s best finisher over his career.
“This is [Lane’s] fifth year,” Herceg said. “He was definitely our No. 1 recruit when he came and I knew how strong he was going to be throughout his whole career here and he has been … His leadership and what he brings to the team is huge just from his experience and all of the little things you pick up from when you start playing college golf.”
Rounding out BU’s best performances, senior Scott Kleeschulte finished tied for 32nd, shooting 14 over, junior Evan Sitts finished 37th, shooting 15 over and freshman Tynan Jones finished 42nd, shooting 19 over. There were 45 golfers and BU was 24 strokes behind tournament winner Towson.
“Even though golf is an individual sport, it’s definitely about the team,” Herceg said. “We have a fairly deep team. We have nine players and I feel that the talent is there to get five players that can be very competitive when we get to our championship.”
BU’s championship is in the spring at the Big Sky Conference Championship. Heading into next semester, Binghamton’s lineup leans young. Of the nine student-athletes on the roster, three of them are freshmen.
“We have a lot of young guys that came in this year,” Herceg said. “The freshmen got a lot of experience this fall and our championship season is in the spring so we’re gonna need some freshmen to step up.”
This was the last tournament of BU’s fall season. Binghamton’s best finish of the year came at the Matthews Auto Collegiate Invitational when the team finished fourth out of 14 teams. The Bearcats are slated to return in March looking to improve this upcoming offseason.
“When it comes down to the fall season, I feel that there are definitely some positives out of it,” Herceg said. “I don’t think we played as well as we could have, but some good things came out of it.”