Boasting the largest group of competitors the tournament has seen in its 43-year history, the Allegheny men’s golf team finished ninth out of 18 at the Guy Kuhn Memorial Invitational, held Sunday, Sept. 11, and Monday, Sept. 12, at the Country Club of Meadville.
Posting a score of 311 on the first day of the tournament, and finishing the second round on Monday with 312, the Allegheny “A” team, lead by Collin Haag, ’17, and Bobby Hapanowicz, ’18, walked away with a two-round team score of 623. Making a 14-stroke improvement in its second round, the Allegheny “B” team, led by Ryan Stefko, ’20, finished the tournament with a two-round score of 634, earning them the 14th spot.
Despite promising individual performances from players like Hapanowicz, who struck an even par at 72 to finish off Sunday’s first round, the team continued to collect strokes and ultimately found itself in the middle of the pack at the end of the tournament.
Head Coach Jeff Groff was well aware of the challenge his players faced heading into an invitational with 92 other golfers.
“It was a tough weekend for the guys and—trust me—no one was happy with the outcome. Ironically, prior to the tournament, we did talk about grinding out a round and posting the best score possible for the team. I certainly can’t fault their effort,” said Groff. “We had some short game issues, primarily putting, that resulted in some higher scores. These guys love to compete and they may have put too much pressure on themselves.”
Herbert Ford, ’19, playing for the “B” team, struck the ball consistently and reliably throughout both rounds of the tournament, but stated that his main struggle emerged on the putting green.
“I just wasn’t able to get any putts to drop,” said Ford.
Other Allegheny team members found themselves running into issues of their own on the course.
Haag, who recently turned in a record-setting scorecard at The College of Wooster’s Gatorade College Invitational, becoming one of three golfers in Allegheny history to shoot a 65 or better, also noticed flaws in his tournament performance.
“I didn’t drive the ball as well as I would have liked,” Haag said. “If I can work on that and find it before next weekend, I’ll be alright.”
Haag is looking to find his swing before the weekend when the team heads to Florida for the NCAA Division III Fall Preview Sept. 18-20. Groff said the preview will pit the Allegheny team against some of the best DIII programs in the country. Although the team is sure to face a tough lineup of opponents from all the teams present at the tournament, Groff has faith in what his men can accomplish.
“This team has shown a solid work ethic so far. We have a short week of practice before flying down to Mission Inn on Friday,” Groff said. “The big key will be for the men to stay focused on their own game and not worry about where they are playing or who they are playing against.”
The men’s team leaves for Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida on Friday, Sept. 16, to represent Allegheny College at the DIII Preview.