Men’s golf ends year in seventh
“Better every day.”
Though this is a typical clich?© for a sports team, the men’s golf team took it further than just a locker room phrase.
With the saying etched into “Seton Hall” blue rubber wristbands, “Better Every Day” was with every golfer during last weekend’s Big East Tournament at the Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla.
Despite finishing with an 887, 23-over-par performance, good for seventh overall, senior Troy Spencer thought the team was prepared for the weekend but the balls just didn’t go their way.
“We had a remarkable year,” Spencer said. “We had guys step up and guys play well. At all different times we had some that were more consistent than others, but everybody was primed and ready and I thought this would be the year we would go in as kind of a favorite than an underdog.”
Having won three tournaments this season, men’s golf head coach Clay White felt confident in his team’s chances of winning the weekend.
“Obviously winning a few tournaments earlier in the spring, gave me the impression that we would go down to the Big East and play competitive,” White said. “I don’t want to sound like we weren’t competitive. I think the guys played hard and gave it their all. We just made a couple of mistakes.”
Three golfers finished in the top 30 of the leaderboard for the Pirates, with sophomore Gary Dunne tallying a career-best 1-under-par, 215 over the course of three days.
Spencer had a three day score of 224, 8-over par and No. 27 overall, while junior Brandon Park tallied a five-over-par 221.
Dunne, who entered the tournament having never finished a weekend under-par, had the best tournament of his career. While Spencer was impressed with the sophomores 69 on day three of the Championship, White was waiting for Dunne to break out.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” White said. “Gary has always been a great ball striker. He’ll hit 15 or 16 greens around and he just struggled putting. This tournament he actually found something on the greens that hopefully he can bottle and keep for the rest of his career.”
Including Dunne’s Big East Tournament performance, Spencer said the mentality of the team this year was different than years past.
“I really thought that this year, as far as confidence, our guys had enough confidence going into every tournament, that we really truly embodied the fact that every week was a business trip,” Spencer said. “We weren’t there for the golf courses, we weren’t there for the food or the tournament gifts. We were there to win and that was it.”
With he and fellow senior John Dawson Neufeld set to graduate in three weeks, Spencer feels that the program is in good shape for next year because of the overall play of Park and Dunne.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Brandon,” he said. “We’ve played together for the last three years. He’s like a brother to me. He’s very mature, as far as golf goes, he’s beyond his years. This year you saw sparks of that this kid can really play.”
With Park’s two tournament wins last Fall and the play of Dunne, White has the program going in the direction he wants it to be in, but they are far from where they want to be.
“It’s really the guys, the guys on the team, and their effort to buckle down mentally, and fight through some adversity and make some decisions when they feel the world is coming down on them,” he said.
“It’s great to see and I think we’re moving in the right direction. Losing Troy (Spencer) and John Dawson Neufeld) are pretty big voids to fill, but that’s what we need to do.”
Tim LeCras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.