By Jill Stinson/Assistant sports editor
As the men’s golf season begins to wind down, the Colonels have one more tournament to focus on for this year’s regular spring season. Eastern will be at home for a week of practice before heading to its next tournament on Saturday. The men have completed a stretch of three tournaments in 16 days. Eastern has one more tournament before heading to Paducah for the OVC tournament. The Colonels will travel to Wright State on Sunday and Monday to take part in The Bullock Collegiate Classic near Dayton, Ohio.
“This tournament is a place where we can stay active and keep competing,” coach Pat Stephens said.
Many schools take some time off before the conference tournament; however, the Colonels would rather stay fresh, according to Stephens.
The Colonels have had a successful spring season and Wright State is another tournament where the Colonels should finish at the top, according to Stephens. The field is not as tough as the ones the Colonels have been part of the past couple of weeks. However, the men will have to play well in order to win.
“I’m confident we should win,” Stephens said.
Despite the rainy week, the Colonels will get several days of practice in before traveling to Wright State. This will give them a chance to remain in focus and possibly add yet another top finish to their rsum.
The men’s golf team got back on their feet after a disappointing outing at the Belmont Invitational earlier in the week to finish fourth place in the Marshall Invitational at the Guyan Golf and Country Club. The three-round total of 867 left the Colonels 20 strokes behind winner Ohio State.
“Every tournament is very important for us right now, and the first round set us back,” Stephens said.
Eastern trailed leader OSU by only nine shots after the first day of play, and second-place Xavier by only six strokes. Eastern remained in fourth place for the entirety of the tournament.
Patrick Williams continued his consistent play by posting rounds of 73 and 69. He finished the first day tied for sixth place and was only three strokes behind host Marshall’s Burke Spensky, the first-day leader.
Three Colonels are tied for 18th place after the first two rounds. Brandon Brown, Josh Crutcher and Drew Alexander each carded two-round totals of 146. Brown shot 75 and 71 on the day while Crutcher recorded rounds of 72 and 74. Alexander shot 76 and 70 during the day.
Tyler Cain rounded out the Eastern scoring with rounds of 76 and 72 to finish in a tie for 32nd place with a total of 148.
In the final round of play, the men’s golf team didn’t gain any ground on winner OSU, who won the tournament with a total score of 847. Eastern completed the Marshall Invitational in fourth place with a total of 867 after firing a final-round 289.
Williams led the team’s effort at the event shooting a three-round total of 215 to finish ninth. Williams shot 73 in the final round.
“Patrick has been playing really well for us and has had a lot of top 10 finishes,” Stephens said.
Crutcher tied for 21st in the tournament with a total of 218. Crutcher posted a 72 in the final round. Cain posted a final round of 71, his lowest of the tournament, to finish tied for 23rd with teammate Alexander. Cain moved up nine spots in the rankings. Both players finished the tournament at 219. Alexander carded a final-round 73 on Saturday to reach that total.
Brown rounded out the men’s scoring in the tournament, shooting a final-round 74 to finish tied for 28th with a total of 220.
“The guys are going to peak at just the right time,” Stephens said.
The Colonels are on the brink of playing their way into the NCAAs. They are getting the plays and the scores they’ve struggled to get before. They are not giving up on a round and have confidence in their teammates to carry them through, according to Stephens.
“They believe in themselves,” Stephens said.