By Tom Regan
After an 18th-place finish in the Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational, the Broncs started the Lafayette Spring Invitational, which featured 18 schools, with a team score of 304 in day one, good for third place on the day.
Leading the team were senior James Buttermark and sophomore Joe Hughes, who tied for 10th out of 100 golfers with their individual scores of 75. Rider received a strong performance from freshman Aaron Simone, who finished day one with a score of 76, placing 19th.
Junior Luke Liddell and sophomore Tom Yarson both did their shares with an opening round of 78 for Liddell and a score of 82 for Yarson.
Head Coach Jason Barry was pleased with his team’s performance on day one.
“We were happy to give ourselves a chance to win the tournament after round one being only four strokes back,” Barry said. “Being in the final three groups was a lot of fun. It’s the reason we prepare.”
However by the end of day two, the Broncs finished seventh, 21 strokes behind Longwood, which won the team competition. The ranking was the best Rider has finished in a competition since the Binghamton Fall Invite back in October, where the Broncs finished fifth out of 13.
Simone had the best performance at Lafayette. He shot a 76 on day two making a total of 153 for both days, which was good for 24th overall.
Buttermark was disappointed with his individual results, as he fell to 27th with a two-day total of 154, but credits his teammates for their strong play.
“I wasn’t happy with the way I played, but I was very happy with the way the team played,” Buttermark said. “They showed a lot of heart out there.”
At the end of day two, Liddell tied for 50th with a 157, while Hughes and Yarson tied for 62nd in the individual competition, each with two-day scores of 159.
Barry believes his team will benefit from practicing on a course more frequently.
“With the weather now allowing us to be on the course everyday, we can really work on scoring,” Barry said. “We’re going to simulate pressure as much as we can in practice to be ready to compete.”
Barry expects his team to finish toward the top of the pack at the Princeton Invitational on April 12 and 13.
“If we play well, we can give ourselves a chance to win the tournament,” Barry said. “That’s our goal for every event we enter.”