Opening its spring season at the Middleburg Bank Intercollegiate hosted by William & Mary, the Binghamton golf team finished 26th in a field of 30 teams after a rough second round dropped the Bearcats from the top half of competition. Finishing on top was Radford University, which swung below 300 each day and finished with a mark of 859.
Despite BU’s low finish, play on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort was beneficial for the Bearcats, who haven’t been able to get a swing in the outdoors since their last trip down south two weeks ago. The three-day outing in Williamsburg, Virginia may have exposed a bit of rust on Binghamton’s clubs, but for a team looking to impress in conference — Binghamton was picked to finish seventh out of eight teams in conference play — that will help in moving forward.
“It was a positive event for us,” Binghamton head coach Bernie Herceg said. “I know the second round we struggled and it kind of hurt us, but in the big frame of things, we were outside, we had some guys have some good rounds and had some good things we can build off of.”
Binghamton came out strong in the first round on Sunday, with senior captain Josh Holling leading the pack with 71 (+1) strokes. Fellow captain Jack Sedgewick finished the 54-hole course with just one extra swing, 72 (+2) to help keep the Bearcats above water. The five-man squad finished the day with a score of 299, good for 14th.
Come Monday, however, the team’s efficacy dipped. In the second round, the Bearcats saw a reversal of fortune, with sophomore Kyle Wambold and junior Jesse Perkins — both of whom struggled the day before — finishing with 79 apiece. But their improvements were insufficient to carry the team, which finished with 26 more strokes than the day before, at 325.
“Some of the second round had to do with a little rust on the guys’ swings, and I think we chalked it up and it was just a bad round early in the year,” Herceg said.
On the third day, the Bearcats put up their best outing. Sedgewick and sophomore Sameer Kalia finished the course on Tuesday with 73 (+3) strokes and Holling and Wambold scored close behind, with 75. Behind those performances, Binghamton hit 296, lending to their final score of 920.
Though there was a bit of variety in the days’ outcomes, Herceg hopes that’s just the result of some early-season warming up, and that the team will buckle down in the weeks to come.
“There’s no doubt one of my big objectives this spring going into conference is to get the consistency, where we have four consistent scorers,” Herceg said. “And that was definitely a lot better in the last round … I’m hoping our last round gave us a look of what’s in store for us going into the other events, where we can get some consistency.”
A positive indicator for such growth was Binghamton’s internal improvements on a personal scale. Kalia, Holling, Sedgewick and Wambold all closed out the event ranked higher than they scaled on the first day. Kalia finished the intercollegiate in a six-way tie for 90th out of 159 golfers, with a team-high 230 (+20) strokes. Holling followed one behind, in a five-way tie for 96th on just one more stroke. Sedgewick’s 232 mark placed him in a five-way tie for 101st and Wambold’s 235 placed him in a five-way tie for 121st.
Next up for the Bearcats is an early week trip to Malvern, Pennsylvania, where the team will participate in the Wildcat Invitational. The two-day event, hosted by Villanova, begins on Monday, March 30.