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Room for improvement

14 September 2016: St Joe's Men's Golf practice at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, PA. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Sideline Photos LLC)
Nick Mandarano
Written by Nick Mandarano

Golf team struggles in opening tournament

The Saint Joseph’s University golf team opened their season in Hamilton, N.Y. at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational on Sept. 9 and 10. The team finished in 9th place of the 16 participating teams, but senior captain Tyler Sokolis wasn’t thrilled with the outcome despite climbing up two places on the second day of the tournament.

“We didn’t really trend upward or downward,” Sokolis said. “It was pretty much a mediocre day for us today [Sept. 10].”

Junior captain Ross Pilliod also expressed displeasure with the team performance.

“I was hoping for a little better showing,” Pilliod said. “We all left shots out there for sure. I know I personally did. It was frustrating, but it was the first [tournament] back, so a lot to improve on and a lot to look forward to.”

Head Coach Bob Lynch elaborated on the magnitude of the missed opportunities.

“We were hoping to get off a little better of a start,” said Lynch. “Going from 11th after day one to 9th after day two obviously is a good step. I think the way it ended up, we were only like three shots out of sixth place, so a shot here or a shot there would’ve made a big difference in our final tally.”

While acknowledging that rust may have played a factor in the team’s results, Sokolis refuses to let it be an excuse.

“There’s some rust there, but I mean last year we came out firing,” Sokolis said. “We played our best tournament we had played in a while last year in our first tournament.”

Sokolis does, however, expect to see better results as the season progresses.

“I always expect improvement, for sure,” he said. “I don’t think that we’re going to be a mediocre team this whole year. We never played here before so none of us had ever seen the course. We have a few guys that haven’t played yet that are playing pretty well. The team changes week to week, so any week can be a catalyst for snowballed success. I definitely don’t expect mediocrity from this team.”

Sophomore Michael O’Brien finished tied for 19th finishing just eight strokes above par. He scored an 80 on a par 72 in the second round, but his first and third rounds were collectively on par. For comparison, the individual tournament champion finished one stroke under par.

“I think Michael O’Brien really played really well this week,” Sokolis said. “He’s a sophomore, so he’s only been on the team for one year, but he won our first tournament that we played last year. That’s really set the tone for his career I think. Even though he shot one bad round yesterday [Sept. 9], most of his scores have been pretty low. He’s one of the front-runners on the team for sure. I think this week, if anyone deserves a shout-out, it’s definitely Michael.”

The Hawks are looking forward to continual improvement throughout the remainder of the season and coming closer to their team goals.

“I think we’d love to win a tournament,” Pilliod said. “We won a tournament last year and that’s always the goal. Why play if you’re not going to try and win?”

St. Joe’s will next compete in the Cornell Invitational in Ithica, N.Y. on Sept. 16-17.

About the author

Nick Mandarano

Nick Mandarano

Nick Mandarano, '18, Sports Editor

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