To complete the spring season, the Binghamton golf team traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona to compete at the 2022 Big Sky Conference Championships. After getting off to a slow start on day one, the Bearcats clawed their way back to finish fourth in the tournament.

“This is the biggest tournament for us every year,” said Binghamton head coach Bernie Herceg. “It was great competition this week. We felt we held our own, and it’s unfortunate we really got out to a bad start the first round.”

Day one saw BU start slow with a combined score of 307. This put the Bearcats in last place by the end of the day. Binghamton’s top finishers on the first day were graduate student Justin Lane and junior Evan Sitts, who shot four over par in round one. They were tied for 10th.

“We haven’t actually played at any firm courses all spring,” Herceg said. “It takes a little bit to adapt to the bounces you’re gonna get chipping and hitting into the greens … There’s a lot of things to factor in, but it shouldn’t have been that score. They just did not perform to their level.”

Binghamton, however, turned things around on day two. The Bearcats had a 27-shot improvement from day one, finishing the day with a total score of 280. BU tied with Weber State and Northern Colorado for the performances of round two, each team shooting even par. Binghamton’s day-two success catapulted it up two places, situating it in fifth place going into the final day of competition.

In Tuesday’s round, D.J. Griffiths led the way with a team-best two-under round. The senior moved up to 12th place on the individual leaderboard and shaved 11 strokes off of his first-round score. Backing Griffiths up was Lane, who shot even par and elevated to sixth place. Sitts joined Griffiths and Lane in the top 20, shooting 149 strokes over the first two days. Graduate student Nacho Glagovsky and freshman Shawn Colella rounded out the Bearcats’ improved performances, both shooting 71.

“If they wanted to have a chance to win and go to NCAA Regionals, they had to fight back,” Herceg said. “They just did a great job, all of them … We had [Lane and Griffiths] in the top five, it’s phenomenal, we just came up a little short. I’m proud of the guys … They did a great job fighting back.”

On day three, BU continued to build off of its success from the previous day. Lane shot two-under through nine holes to lift him into fourth place. Griffiths followed closely behind Lane with a one-under par front nine to insert himself into the top 10. Additionally, Sitts was under par through nine holes, closing in on a spot in the top 10.

“[Griffiths] is such a well-experienced, strong player,” Herceg said. “He is one of our top players and I know he had a rough start day one, but he came back … What he did for the team here was phenomenal.”

Colella ended the tournament with a final score of 231 strokes. He finished tied for 32nd place. Glagovsky ended day three in 29th place with a score of 228. Sitts turned in an even par round to tie for 13th place and a total score of 219. Griffiths matched his round-two performance with another two-under par score of 68 that catapulted him up eight spots on the leaderboard to finish tied for fourth place. Closing out the day for the Bearcats was Lane, who bested his scores from the previous two days with 68 strokes and moved up four spots to finish tied for second overall in the tournament.

“To have us start out the way we did,” Herceg said. “We were putting ourselves in the correct position, and they fought hard, and it just didn’t happen, but they kept battling and I’m proud of them.”

Despite ending this season without a victory as a team, Binghamton ended on a high note, finishing the tournament in fourth place as a team. The Bearcats also carded the best score out of every team on day three. BU closed out the year with a score of 29-over, totaling 869 strokes. This marks the program’s best performance at the Big Sky Tournament since it began competing in the 2015 season.

“I envisioned this going into this season just because we had four seniors on the team,” Herceg said. “It’s great to show how competitive we can be with them and have an opportunity to win this championship.”