Most athletes would cringe at the thought of having a low-scoring game. The prospect of headlines such as the one above would seem catastrophic, signaling a significant loss or a series of crushing defeats. Golfers, however, are not most athletes.
The USF Men’s Golf Team came out of the Nick Watney Invitational celebrating their markedly low score, but not without experiencing a few hazards along the way. Held by Fresno State on Oct. 2 and 3, the weekend-long tournament saw the team steadily chip away at the competition, earning them a final score worthy of commendation.
Arriving in Fresno with the memory of a successful 4th place finish at the Golfweek Conference Challenge in September, the members of the USF men’s golf team were confident in their abilities and showed that they would once again come out swinging. Prospects for the Dons looked very bright at the fittingly-named Sunnyside Golf Course.
The first day of the Invitational was promising, but not exceptional for the Dons. Despite posting the second-lowest team score during the second round with an overall team score of +10, they couldn’t quite break ahead of the pack. After two rounds were played, the men of USF found themselves in 5th place by the end of Saturday. With a daunting four-way tie at 1st place laid out ahead of them, the Dons faced the challenge of pushing ahead of multiple teams.
However the art of the comeback was not lost. The team teed off at 1 p.m. the following afternoon to play the third and final round of the tournament.
The team finished with a total score of 15 over par, pushing USF to 2nd place overall. USF was only narrowly succeeded by BYU, whose score of +13 nudged the San Franciscans out of reaching first place. In any case, the Dons maintained a striking 7-stroke buffer between themselves and Utah’s 3rd place team.
While the success of the team is important, it is only a façade, covering the accomplishments and accolades of the talented men who make up the team. Most notable, senior team member Henry Chung – who had begun Sunday tied for 8th with fellow USF teammate Tim Widing – was able to push ahead in the final round and land himself in second place overall, leading the team. Chung was able to score respective 73, 70 and 70 in the three tournament rounds on the par-71 golf course, landing him with an even-par final score.
Chung was not the only Don in the Top 20. Freshmen Toby Briggs and Soren Lind landed themselves in the Top 10, with Briggs taking a tie at 6th and Lind finishing with a tie at 8th. Widing concluded the tournament in a five-way tie in 14th, a respectable score for a very closely-scoring weekend. All said, the men of USF displayed incredible depth as a team and were able to show their competitive edge on the green.
At the end of the weekend, the USF men’s golf team were able to put their clubs away with a sense of satisfaction in their consistency and success in managing to break through the competition and have multiple players crack into the Top 20.
While they may be hoping for low scores, the forecast seems to tell us that they will remain high in the rankings for many tournaments to come.
Featured Photo: Men’s golf at Sunnyside Golf Course last weekend. Courtesy of Jalen Griffin.