After nearly five months of waiting, the Binghamton golf team was back in action this weekend at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Boulder City, Nevada. Posting a collective score of 41 over par over three rounds, the team finished in 10th place out of 15 teams in its first invitational since October.
“We definitely have some rust to shake off,” said BU head coach Bernie Herceg. “Overall I think we competed pretty well, considering we’ve been indoors until then. It was great to see some of the guys put up some really nice numbers.”
Freshman Nacho Glagovsky led the Bearcats on the individual leaderboard, finishing with a score of plus-seven on 223 shots in a tie for 36th place. Sophomore Ryan Rodriguez was right behind him at eight over par and tied for 41st place overall. Each posted relatively consistent scores throughout the weekend, with neither taking more than 76 shots in any given round.
Although the team was rusty to start, the Bearcats improved as the invitational progressed. The first two rounds of the 72-par course, taking place on Friday, March 9, saw the Bearcats struggle. Junior Zak Ottman double-bogeyed two of his first three holes of the day, while freshman Justin Lane failed to birdie a single hole in the first round. By the end of the day, the Bearcats were already 33 shots over par.
On Saturday, however, the Bearcats were able to turn things around. Rodriguez turned in his best round of the weekend, a 73, while Glagovsky managed to recover from an early quadruple bogey to finish at 74. The top performer of the day for Binghamton was Lane, who achieved an even 72 in the final round, the best round by a Bearcat all weekend.
“As each round progresses here in the spring season early on, we’re shaking off more and more rust,” Herceg said. “They’re getting a little bit more comfortable getting back in the competition. It was good to see in the last round how they improved.”
Taking the first spot in the invitational was UNLV. Entering the final round in third, the Rebels collectively earned a stellar final round of 25 below par to charge past Nevada and UCLA to take the victory. Freshman Devon Bling of UCLA topped the individual leaderboard with a total score of minus-15.
The Jackrabbit Invitational was the first of six scheduled events for the golf team in the spring season. Unlike most of Binghamton University’s athletic programs, the golf team is a member of the Big Sky Conference, and the Bearcats’ schedule builds up to the Big Sky Championships at the end of April, which will be played on the same course as the Jackrabbit Invitational.
“It was very beneficial for us to learn the course a little bit more,” Herceg said. “More rounds on the course are definitely going to help us for the end of April. That was definitely one of our goals.”
The Bearcats also stand to gain from a brand-new practice facility that opened up over the winter. Located in the West Gym, the indoor facility allows the team to practice chipping and putting during the cold months of the year in the Southern Tier.
“This is something that we’ve been working on for a few years now, because it’s something that’s needed for the players,” Herceg said. “When you’re in the offseason up here in the Northeast, you need something to work on your short game … To be able to work on our short game fundamentals in the offseason, we’re just going to be that much more well-prepared.”
The Bearcats’ spring season is set to continue later this month at the C&F Bank Intercollegiate, hosted by William & Mary. The event is scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 25 and runs through Tuesday, March 27 in Williamsburg, Virginia.