The men’s golf team is disappointed after not capitalizing on key opportunities in the final round of the Jaguar Intercollegiate in Mobile, Ala.
The Bulls finished in eighth place. Despite playing well in the first two rounds of the tournament, the players are unhappy with the way they played toward the end.
“We had it,” said sophomore Raj Nahal said. “It was there, but you have to be there the whole round. Not just nine holes out of the day.”
Middle Tennessee State, MTS, won the tournament scoring 826. The team took a commanding eight stroke lead in the opening round and never looked back. However, MTS’s Kent Bulle was unable to
prevail over South Alabama’s Daniel Burns, who beat Bulle in a playoff to win the individual medallist honors. Both finished regular tournament play at 203 strokes. South Alabama concluded its tournament in second place at 839.
USF finished with a final score of 868, three strokes
better than last week’s performance at the Scenic City Invitational. Improvement is always a good thing, but coach Jim Fee would like his team to play better.
“It was a little disappointing,” he said. “We were tied for sixth going into today. We played well on the first nine holes (in the final round), but we turned around and didn’t play well the last nine (holes).”
Senior Tyler Hitchcock broke out of a slump after carding a frustrating 224 in last week’s tournament, ending at 209 in Alabama. Hitchcock said he put in extra time in practice to improve his play.
“I had three days to really grind for practice, and that’s what I did,” Hitchcock said. “Obviously, it paid off a little bit. I could have played better, as usual, but I’m pretty happy with my performance this week.”
Nahal looked forward to returning to the Azalea City Golf Club, where he played in his first tournament as a Bull a year ago.
“I was pretty excited to come back because it’s a course where you can score well,” Nahal said. “My goal today was to get my tournament (score) to par. I was playing well today, but I got a triple bogey on the last hole of the day.”
Nahal finished the tournament at 218, two over par.
First year Bulls Jakob McKinley and Robby Carl finished the tournament tied at 226. Chris Tallman ended the tournament with 236 strokes.
Finishing strong is not the only aspect Fee has to worry about for his team. Freshman Matthew Cooney was injured during the second round of the tournament. Fee said Cooney was treated by trainers and was able to play in the final round, but will be checked out when the team returns to Tampa.
“He had a root under his ball, hit the shot and jarred his right hand,” said Fee. “He finished the round but for the afternoon round we decided he would just sit out. When we get back to campus, we’ll have our sports medicine people evaluate his hand and see where we need to go from there.”
Fee has said he would like his freshmen to play in as many early tournaments as possible to get them acclimated to playing against tough college