By Todd Purvis/Assistant sports editor
The men’s golf team was in action this past Saturday and Sunday when they traveled to the University of Kentucky to compete in the 18th annual Johnny Owens Invitational. The Big Blue Course at the University Club is a par-72 course that plays 6,992 yards.The conditions over the weekend caused many problems due to the fact that, in the practice round, the temperature was in the 70s, but for the actual days of the tournament it was cold and windy, according to coach Pat Stephens.
The Colonels shot a final round of 311, which was good enough to bring them back to where they could clinch the 4th spot in the tourney, out of a field of 15 teams. Eastern shot a total of 920 on 54 holes of play, as a team, but fell short to the Vanderbilt Commodores who won the tournament by 17 strokes with a score of 903.
“By looking at the teams in the tournament, I felt like we should have finished in the top five, and we did. Our talent is there, but getting it to come out is what we’re working on,” Stephens said.
After the first two rounds of the tournament, the Colonels were tied for fifth with 12 strokes out of the lead. “Our second round was what got us back to a respectable finish, shooting a 296, which was the best round of the tournament,” Stephens said.
Eastern was led in the first round by junior Josh Crutcher who shot a 147 in the first two rounds, which was good enough to put him in a tie for 4th place.
The Colonels were also led in the first two rounds by junior Brandon Brown who shot a 150 and tied for 16th place.
The third round of the tournament resumed on Sunday where Eastern was able to pick up their play a bit and move into the 4th spot; however, this was as close as the team would get.
Eastern had only one golfer finish in the top ten. Junior transfer Brandon Brown captured a tie for 8th place by shooting a 226 (79-71-76) for the tournament. He was only six strokes away from the leader, even after triple bogeying the last hole, which knocked him out of contention for the win, according to Stephens.
“Brandon Brown is a great addition to our squad,” Stephens said.
Josh Crutcher also led Eastern by shooting a 228 on the tourney, which was good enough to tie for 13th place.
“Josh had a really good tournament. If he would have finished his back nine, like he played the rest of the tournament, he would have finished in the top five,” Stephens great.
Rounding out the scores for the Colonels was Drew Alexander who shot a 235 and tied for 35th place. Tyler Cain tied for 39th place after shooting a 236. Patrick Williams shot a 239 and finished at a tie for 55th.
“We’re slowly progressing, and we have a talented group of guys. We had solid scores at the one, two and three spots and we need someone to chip in at the four and five spots,” Stephens said.
The Colonels will travel this weekend (April 4-5) to Huntington, W. Va. to will compete in the Marshall University Intercollegiate tournament.
“I think we have a good chance at finishing well this weekend because four out of five of our guys have played there before. We have the talent, but the key is finishing the tournament strong,” Stephens said. “If we can get in the hunt after the first two rounds, we can be in contention to win.”