The men’s golf team finished first of 15 teams at The Hershey Cup in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Sunday, April 2 and Monday, April 3.
“I think everyone contributed really well. It was our first tournament since the winter break, and I think everyone picked up where they left off in the fall and played very solidly and contributed to the win,” said Bobby Hapanowicz, ’18.
Collin Haag, ’17, said the team played well as a team throughout the tournament.
“We were fortunate enough to go to Florida for spring break, so we were able to shake off the rust from winter, and we really focused on playing as a team rather than individuals, which helped us down the stretch,” Haag said.
Haag said his favorite part of The Hershey Cup was the last three holes on Monday, when the team knew they were close to finishing first and had to wrap up the day well.
“It’s fun. It’s pressure. It’s what you work really hard for, and to see it all come together at the end and taking that team picture with the trophy is satisfying,” Haag said.
Haag led the Gators with an opening round 73 and a second round 76, tying for fifth out of 87 golfers at the tournament.
“We went in with a mindset that we were going to compete, and coming off of a really good spring break trip, we tried to use it as a springboard towards our first event, and that’s what they did,” said Head Coach Jeff Groff.
Hapanowicz said The Hershey Cup is one of the team’s favorite events in the spring.
“The course is in some of the best conditions that we find. It’s a great layout, and we see a lot of good teams there that were ranked. It’s our first tournament coming off the break so we look forward to getting out there and playing,” Hapanowicz said.
Hapanowicz finished seventh overall with a 77 on opening day and 73 on the second day.
“In my mind, although every event is important, we always see Hershey, the conference championship, and Guy Kuhn [Invitational] as the four major events for golf. The Hershey Cup is a very strong field, a very competitive field, and it’s always a good event,” Groff said.
Looking ahead at the remainder of tournaments in the spring season, the team hopes to improve on its performances in Florida and at The Hershey Cup.
“More than anything technical or mental, we want to continue to fine-tune all aspects of our game,” Hapanowicz said. “There might be a little bit of rust still given that we just played our first tournament of the spring. We’re playing small practice rounds with each other to fine-tune our competitiveness and get back in that mode after being away for four or five months.”
Groff said the team is also hoping to consistently improve and perform each week.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what these guys can do. Hershey East was a great course, and we’re playing some great courses for college golf this semester, especially next weekend at Oak Hill,” Groff said.
Haag said he is looking forward to soaking up the last few tournaments he has in his college career.
“It’s moreso looking back on the four years I’ve had here and the experiences I’ve had playing for the golf team. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you’re never going to have again, so I’m just trying to enjoy it,” Haag said.
The team will travel to Rochester, New York on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 for the Kravetz Invitational hosted by the University of Rochester.