By Tom Albano
The golf team tees up on Sunday and Monday during the fourth and final tournament: the Binghamton Fall Invitational.
The Broncs have not found great success on the course this season, finishing almost at the bottom of the previous three tournaments.
Head Coach Bob Whartenby believes that playing in different weather conditions has been an issue for the team the entire season.
“I think we just need to play a little bit better and grind it out a little bit better in bad weather,” Whartenby said. “It seems like we’re fair-weather golfers right now and unfortunately, golfing is not like that.”
Junior captain James Buttermark witnessed the team struggle on the course firsthand.
“We’ve had our ups and downs this year,” Buttermark said. “We would have a couple good rounds as a team in a tournament and then a bad round. We just couldn’t find any consistency.”
Whartenby, ’04, used to play the Binghamton Invitational at Hiawatha Landing golf course when he played for Rider as a student athlete. He expects his golfers to encounter the same challenges he faced when playing on the course.
“We used to play it in the [Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference],” Whartenby said. “I expect the scores to be high. This course is very difficult. It’s long and going to be cold. It is a very tough golf course.”
For the last tournament of the season, Buttermark has two things he is working on specifically to help improve his overall skills.
“It’s my short game and my putting, and that’s what’s hurt me this fall so far,” Buttermark said. “If I could make a couple more putts here and there, I could be in contention in a lot more tournaments. Just the consistency is what’s bothered me the most.”
Whartenby agreed with his team captain and believes that the entire team needs to practice their game around the greens.
“Unfortunately, [short game, and putting] is exactly what it is,” Whartenby said. “Its getting the ball up by the green and not getting it up and down, or three-putting, or just not hitting it close. These guys have worked a little harder this week on putting versus going out there and playing, so hopefully the practice will pay off this weekend.”
The Broncs recently placed 13th out of 15 teams at the Cornell Invitational, but Whartenby is hoping for a stronger performance from his team at Binghamton.
“There are 12 teams in the field, and I would like to be in the top six,” he said. “I think it will show what these guys can do if their short games are a little better.”