The men's golf team won its first tournament of the fall season, taking the Frank Landry Invitational Tuesday in Charlottesville, Va.
Junior Sam Beach won the individual title, shooting a 4-under-par 68 during the final round to finish with a score of 3-under-par 213. Freshman Daniel Walker finished third at an even-par 216 and senior Robert Lindstrom tied for fifth with a 2-over-par 218.
The Spiders combined for a 2-over-par score of 866 during the three-round tournament, 14 shots ahead of second place.
Lindstrom said before the tournament that the team would have an advantage because most of the players had played the course at the Spring Creek Golf Club in Charlottesville.
During the team's first tournament of the year, the Spiders finished second out of 13 teams in the Missouri Tiger Invitational on Sept. 6-7 at the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y. The team had a score of 897, 33-over-par, and all five players placed in the top 15 overall, though only the four highest scores were used for the team score.
The men's golf team finished 10th during its second tournament, the VCU Shootout, on Sept. 28-29.
The team was in fifth place out of 14 teams after playing the first two rounds at 8-over-par, but a final round at 19-over-par gave the Spiders a cumulative score of 891, good for 27-over-par and tied for 10th with East Carolina University, ahead of just three other teams.
The team improved from last year's performance in the tournament when it finished 13th out of 15 teams. The tournament was held at the Hermitage Country Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va.
Beach led the team with a 1-over-par score of 217 and tied for fourth place overall. He started the tournament with a score of 71 during the first two rounds, but stumbled slightly during the final round with a 75. Lindstrom finished just two shots behind Beach with a score of 219, tied for 15th.
Adam Decker, the team's head coach, said although he was glad the team had fought its way into contention at both tournaments, it needed to learn how to finish well in order to win.
Lindstrom agreed, saying the team was disappointed with its play during its first two tournaments. He said he thought the team could have done better in New York, and had been playing well in the VCU Shootout, dropping five spots the last day.
"That was kind of tough to deal with," Lindstrom wrote in an e-mail, "but it should make us better in the long run."
The team's only two freshmen, Walker and Nick Austin, competed during the first three tournaments. Lindstrom said the two had made immediate contributions during the tournaments, and Decker said they both brought a new sense of competitiveness to the team.
"It pushes the guys who've been here a little bit," Decker said. "Scores of 75 and 76 won't cut it."
Walker was named Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week after tying for seventh at the Missouri Tiger Invitational. Walker said he had hoped he would have been able to play for the team to start the season, but he hadn't known whether he and Austin would have had the opportunity to contribute immediately.
"The idea was that [Austin] and I would be immediate impact freshmen, but I didn't really know what to expect," Walker said.
The team will play again this weekend at the Philadelphia Big 5 Invitational on Oct. 10-11 in Philadelphia, Penn.
Lindstrom said no one had played the course in Philadelphia, but he added that he wasn't worried about not knowing what to expect.
"All of us are starting to play better, so I like our chances no matter what the course looks like," Lindstrom said.
After the Philadelphia Big 5 Invitational, the team has only one more fall tournament, the Georgetown Hoya Invitational at Beallesville, Md., on Oct. 19-20. After that, the team will focus its attention on the spring season, which culminates with the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla. The A-10 Championship will be played April 30 through May 2.
Decker said that the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which has won the last four A-10 Championships, and Xavier University were strong teams that dominated the conference. He also said the Spiders shouldn't overlook the University of Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure University, both of whom have had impressive runs recently.
Lindstrom said the team was motivated to use the rest of the fall season as a springboard for success in the spring.
"Hopefully the last three tournaments of the fall can give us the experience and confidence we need to play well in the spring leading up to the conference tournament," Lindstrom said.
Contact staff writer Stephen O'Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org
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