After an eighth-place finish at home this weekend in the Cornell Invitational, the golf team hits the road again on Sunday and Monday as it heads into the Keenan Invitational hosted by St. Bonaventure.
The 15-team field includes the defending champion – Rider – and other strong teams, including Bucknell, Binghamton, Youngstown State, and Drexel.
St. Bonaventure will also host Duquesne, Niagara, Seton Hall, Canisius, Long Island, Robert Morris and St. Francis (Pa.) at this year’s tournament.
This week the Red is ready with a younger lineup and a greater sense of urgency to win after coming up short in its own tournament.
“Our future looks brighter after this past weekend,” said head coach Matt Baughan.
The future Baughan is talking about lies in the hands of freshman Ross Thompson, who placed 25th this weekend in his first collegiate golf tournament.
“It was stressful, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Thompson said.
This was particularly true since Thompson played a lot of competitive rounds for his high school and in national junior tournaments.
“I have a lot of tournament experience, but I’m always nervous on the first tee. I settled down quickly. Nerves disappear when you’re hitting the ball that well,” Thompson said. “I’m hitting every club perfectly and I just have to concentrate on my short game. I’m ready. I want to go.”
The rest of the squad is equally excited to be going to St. Bonaventure, especially sophomore Robbie Fritz.
Fritz has placed in the top-20 in each of his first three starts, including a second-place finish this past weekend.
“I think the course is to our advantage. Putting will be really important and that’s one of our strengths,” Fritz said.
Baughan also recognizes his team’s advantage on the St. Bonaventure course this weekend.
“None of our game is power. Robbie manages his game very well. [Sophomore] Bret [Perry] is very precise. We should do better on a shorter course,” Baughan said.
It is a course that the Red had tremendous success on last fall, when Fritz finished ninth and classmate Chad Bernstein finished 19th. After a strong performance last weekend at the Cornell Invitational, including a second round 73 while playing for the “B” team, Bernstein is traveling with the “A” team again and can’t wait to be playing on the St. Bonaventure course.
“It reminds me of my home course, since it’s short and narrow,” Bernstein said.
Fritz is also confident the team will perform well, as the course matches up well to the Red’s individual strengths.
“There are some quirky holes on the St. Bonaventure course that bother a lot of people, but not Bret. Bret has the perfect game for that course,” he said.
The team has an optimistic attitude and is convinced that they have the talent to win this weekend.
“We’re close, it’s just a matter of putting things together,” Baughan said.
Junior Greg Peterson, who will also start for the Red this weekend, is on the same page as Baughan when it comes to what it will take for the team to succeed.
“I want to win this week. I’m just waiting for that one round where we all play like we can. We just need to get the ball in the hole,” he said.
Archived article by Lance Polivy