By Michael Mack
The Rider golf team was busy this week, competing in the Princeton Invitational over the holiday weekend and in the Peacock Invitational Tuesday. The Princeton Invitational was shortened from 54 holes over three days to 36 holes over two days because of inclement weather. Luckily the tournament was not cancelled altogether, as the players willed their way through harsh conditions on Saturday.
The heavy rain and brutal wind played a major factor in the first round of the invitational and resulted in high scores, including a three hour rain delay halfway through the day.
Rider shot an opening round score of 318, leaving it 13th out of the 14 teams in the tournament.
The weather heavily affected Rider, as four Broncs shot 80 or worse on the par 71 course. However, senior Eric LeFante was able to play well through the harsh conditions and shot a 71 for an even par on the first day.
“I was able to hang in there because I was able to stay dry,” LeFante said about his play prior to the rain delay. This was the key to LeFante’s success as the conditions eased up a bit after the delay.
“The rain and wind had stopped,” he said. “I knocked some approach shots close and was able to make a few birdie puts.”
LeFante’s 71 placed him second among the 74 golfers competing in the tournament.
The Broncs went into the second day with hopes of better playing conditions. They did not get what they wanted, however, as winds reached speeds up to 30 miles per hour on Sunday.
Despite the once again awful playing conditions, two Broncs were able to improve on their first round scores. Unfortunately, LeFante was not one of them. He shot an 80 on day two, finishing with a total score of 151, which placed him 11th amongst the 74.
“The conditions were really difficult, and I did not strike the ball particularly well,” LeFante said. “It was a disappointing day and I hope I can finish stronger the rest of the season.”
The Broncs who improved were sophomores Brent Wolgast and Brian Accorsini. Both shot 80s on the second day, improving by four and six strokes, respectively. Wolgast finished with a score of 164, placing him 61st, while Accorsini finished with a 166, placing him in a tie for 66th place.
The Broncs declined overall as a team, shooting a 326 on the second day. Rider finished 13th out of 14 teams with a final score of 644.
In Tuesday’s Peacock Invitational, the Broncs were slightly more successful. The weather was once again a factor, however, the scores for the day were a bit higher than usual.
The team shot a 325, which was good enough for seventh place of the 15 teams that participated.
Wolgast led the way for the Broncs this time, shooting a 78 on the par 72 course, placing seventh amongst the 78 participating golfers. LeFante, who won the Peacock Invitational a year ago, and sophomore JordanWycoff followed up with 80s, placing them in a tie for 14th.
The Broncs finished just nine strokes off the lead in what was a very close tournament.
Next up for the Broncs is the Mount St. Mary’s Spring Invitational on Monday and Tuesday.