Finding the fairways: Freshmen golfers start strong at Matthews Auto Collegiate Invitational

The Lafayette men’s golf team finished 11th out of the 16 teams to play in the Matthews Auto Collegiate Invitational on Monday. The tournament was hosted by Binghamton at the Links at Hiawatha Landing. The highlight of the tournament for Lafayette was freshman Ryan Tall finishing tied for 11th place in the tournament, with a total score of 144 (even par) after shooting 69 and 75.

Freshman Kazuki Osawa finished tying for 30th as he shot 149 (+5) and freshman Drew Steiner shot 153 (+9) over the two rounds, coming in tied for 49th. The Leopards’ tournament team did not feature some of the team’s more regular competitors, but this young group proved their worth at the invitational.

“It definitely helped to have a good first round,” Tall said. “It was crucial, but I started to press a little more than I should have. I made some poor decisions, but I played with two great guys so it was easy to stay focused and concentrated. In a tournament like that, where you’re on the course for six hours, you really need to stay focused. Being able to play well this weekend, it was crucial to play well, especially with the competition I was playing with.”

After being tied for second place after the first round, Tall faltered a bit in the second round by shooting three over par, but it was still an impressive result for a freshman playing in just his third tournament ever.

“I think the team has done great, especially some of the older guys on the team, sophomore Brendan Cronin [who won the Patriot League Golfer of the Month Award], sophomore Cole Berger, and junior Will Halamandaris,” Tall said. “Those guys have shown the ropes for the other freshman and [me]. I think we have been doing great and a lot better than we did last fall. I think we can continue to do really well this year.”

According to Tall, he didn’t have many expectations coming into the year.

“It has felt pretty clean, as I expected to play a lot and to be able to compete with the other guys on the team. We added a strong freshman class and are adding more depth to an already deep team. I hope we continue to play well,” Tall said.

The golf team will travel to Hampden, Massachusetts to participate in the UConn Invitational on Monday, Oct. 8 and Tuesday, Oct. 9. The invitational will be hosted by the University of Connecticut.