The golf team stumbled out of the gate at the Palmas Del Mar Intercollegiate competition, falling to a ninth place finish in their spring season opener last week in Puerto Rico.
Freshman Brandon Park led the Pirates in his spring debut, finishing in a tie for third place, out of 82 individual competitors, with Eric Onesi of Old Dominion University. The third place finish for Park was his highest finish as a Pirate with his previous best being a tie for fourth place at the Tiger Intercolligate, which was his first tournament as a member of the team.Park shot a 213, three under par, with rounds of 70, 73, and 70, a career best round.Head coach Clay White said Park’s hard work over the winter really showed during this event.”Coming from Florida he never played in the winter weather before,” White said, “But he worked hard on it. Hopefully he can continue to work hard and improve and win a tournament as a freshman,”The team as a whole shot 906, 42-over-par, with combined rounds of 304, 298, and 304. White noted that he was somewhat disappointed with his team’s performance, but realized that some of the other competing teams were not competing in their first competition of the spring like the Pirates.”It was our first outing and I wasn’t expecting to light the place on fire,” he said, “But at the same time I think we could have played better. I just thought the work we put in over the winter would have produced better results.”Junior Borja Faixat achieved the second highest finish of the team, shooting +11 for a tie at 29th place with rounds of 75, 76, and 76. Sophomore Troy Spencer was close behind, shooting 13 over for the three days with rounds of 75, 75 , and 79, good enough for a tie at 39th place.Senior David Sampson finished 22 shots over par in a tie for 62nd place and junior Colin Van Es was 28 over par finishing in 70th place, rounding out the competitors for the Pirates. USC Upstate won the competition with a team score of -3, with two of their golfers, Josh Gallman and Brian Horton, finishing with the best individual marks at -5.Horton shot a tournament low round of 67 on the final day to finish in a tie for first place.The Pirates return to action on March 27 for the Fireline Towson in Grasonville, Md. White said he knows the team knows what they need to work on to improve their performance for their next outing.”David [Sampson] is really close to playing well,” White said. “Colin [Van Es] only had a few big mistakes that cost him. If they can straighten those things out then I think we’ll have a pretty good shot at Towson. It’ll all boil down to how much we can get out and play.”Joshua Jongsma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.