After a slow start to its season, the Binghamton golf team sought to bounce back last weekend at the Matthews Auto Collegiate Invitational, BU’s only home match of the season. The Bearcats finished in fourth overall in a field of 16 teams. BU’s team score, 568 (-8), was just three strokes behind the event winner, St. Bonaventure. The invitational marked Binghamton’s best performance so far this season.
The Bearcats finished the first day in second place with a team score of 279 (-9). Binghamton was just two strokes off the leader, Drexel, which tallied a team score of 277 (-11). On the second day, however, BU dropped to fourth after shooting 289 (+1).
“Our goal is always to give ourselves an opportunity on the final round to be in position to maybe win and we did that this week,” said BU head coach Bernie Herceg.
This marked the final home tournament for seniors Kyle Wambold and Sameer Kalia. Both Kalia and Wambold played extremely well, shooting 143 (-1) and 141 (-3), respectively. Kalia improved in the second round, leading the Bearcats with a 71(-1).
“We take it pretty seriously, as well as any other event, but this one is a little extra special for us,” Herceg said.
Sophomore Jack Faraci tied with Wambold in terms of overall score, shooting under par with a 141 (-3). Faraci and Wambold ended in a tie for ninth place out of 90 total golfers.
“Without [Wambold and Faraci] being under par, we wouldn’t have been as close as we were; both of them really played great.” Herceg said.
Sophomore Zak Ottman and freshman Tom Mandel were able to contribute to the Bearcats’ success as well. Ottman put together an impressive second round, scoring par, which helped him finish at a 149 overall, just one stroke behind Mandel, who shot a 77 in round two.
“But overall the guys are just consistent, where they didn’t really have any big numbers,” Herceg said.¶
The Bearcats’ core four of Wambold, Kalia, Ottman and Mandel were key to Binghamton’s fourth-place finish. The Bearcats have performed well at their home tournament in recent years, winning the event in 2014.
“To have all four guys have solid rounds each day, that’s how you’re able to move up in the leaderboards,” Herceg said.
The Bearcats improved their performance to record their second top-10 finish of the season. The other was a 10th-place finish at the Cornell Fall Invitational. BU is scheduled to play in the Connecticut Cup on Oct. 10 and 11 at Ellington Ridge Country Club in Ellington, Connecticut.
“Going into Connecticut’s tournament with us playing a little better and feeding off the positives we had here, scoring a lot better, putting a lot better,” Herceg said. “Our overall game is feeling a little more confident.”