Men’s golf finished outside the top five for the first time this season, taking sixth in the Marshall Invitational Saturday in Huntington, W. Va.The tournament was scheduled for three rounds but was shortened to two after Friday’s first round washed out.
Although the Colonels failed to record a top-five finish, their sixth place effort placed them above schools such as Cincinnati, Marshall and Ball State. Illinois won the 17-team tournament, followed by Penn State and Ohio State.
Eastern Head Coach Pat Stephens said the Colonels did not play their best golf during the match.
“We didn’t play bad,” Stephens said. “But we didn’t play well enough to contend and go out there and make a statement.”
Stephens said the poor conditions on the course might have had an effect on the Colonel golfers.
Seniors Phil Hendrickson and Ryan Britt led the way for the Colonels. Both players shot a two-round score of 144, 2-over-par. The pair tied for 23rd place for the tournament.
The Colonels were consistent, if not spectacular, during the tournament. All five of Eastern’s golfers came away with top 40 finishes.
Senior Justin Moore finished in a tie for 28th place with a two-round total of 145. Juniors Trey Bowling and Jessie Massie finished in ties for 34th and 38th places, respectively.
Stephens said this consistency had been a strength of the Colonels all season, but they were just missing a breakout performance at Marshall.
“We have had a lot of good play from different players at each tournament this season,” Stephens said. “But at Marshall we didn’t have that breakout player to put us over the hump.”
This consistency should pay off for the Colonels when the team plays at the OVC Championships, Stephens said.
“Any of our five guys can go out and shoot a very low score,” Stephens said. “Most teams have one or two weak spots, but we don’t have a weak link on our entire roster. If we have one or two guys break out and shoot low rounds in the conference tournament I don’t think anyone can beat us.”
However, Stephens said the team still has room to improve before the conference tournament. The Eastern coach said the players need to continue to work on the mental aspect of their putting.
Eastern will have one more regular season match to play, tuning up for the OVC Championship. The Colonels are scheduled to make the trek up I-75 to play at the University of Kentucky Invitational Sunday and Monday.