Golf takes third place at UConn Invitational as senior Ryan Tall wins Patriot League Golfer of the Week

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The Leopards hit their stride at the UConn Invitational, riding momentum to a third place finish in the three day event. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

Craig Barbaro

The Lafayette golf team had their most consistent performance to date with a third-place finish at the UConn Invitational at Great Horse this past week. The Leopards had a strong showing in the three-day event, finishing third out of 16 teams.

The Leopards finished the first day of the invitational, Oct. 3, in third place, shooting 291 on the day. Senior Ryan Tall led the day shooting three-under-par for a score of 69 on a par 72 course.

“I feel pretty good with the way I performed,” Tall said. “The final round felt like I played my best but putts didn’t drop. I love the course and have gotten used to it over the years so I felt comfortable with my game plan going into it.”

Tall was awarded the Patriot League Golfer of the Week for his efforts. Tall shot 213 (69 on day one, 73 on day two, 71 day on three), finishing three-under-par for the invitational.

Junior Martin Vanhaelst finished day one tied for 11th out of almost 100 contestants, ending the day shooting 72 for par.

“It was a good weekend,” Vanhaelst said. “I wasn’t striking the ball as sharp as I would have liked to, so I had to really focus on my strategy to grind a score out there.”

The Leopards followed up a strong day one with a dominant day two to move into second place. The Leopards shot 13-over par as a team, with Tall leading the way shooting one-over-par (73). Vanhelst moved up to 10th place on day two, shooting two-over-par (74). Freshman Michael Walsh put together the best day two for the Leopards, shooting even par (72).

The Leopards maintained their momentum heading into the third day but cooled off to a third-place finish. The Leopards combined for a score of 18-over par on the final day. Tall shot two-under on the day and finished with a score of three-under-par to finish third overall in the invitational, just two strokes from finishing in second place. Vanhelst shot three-over-par, as well as Walsh, to finish 14th and 15th respectively.

“The team played solid,” Tall said. “We are happy with third, still we felt like we had a good chance to win coming down to the last round but it is a great learning experience for this team going forward.”

“I was definitely happy with our performance as a team,” Vanhelst added. “We’ve struggled with having three consistent days throughout the tournament, which we managed to do this week. It’s great to see the progress we’re making, it definitely gives us confidence moving forward. Coming in third place in a good tournament like this without our best game, really shows us how good we can be.”

The team heads to Georgia on Sunday to compete in a match hosted by Georgia State at the Berkeley Hills Country Club in Duluth, GA.

“We are traveling down to Georgia State and we are excited to play in that field,” Tall said. “We are playing a little bit of a shorter course so we really need to capitalize on our wedge shots.”