Golf: Huskies move forward this weekend at Hartford Hawks Invitational 

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Following the UConn’s men’s golf team’s season opener at the Doc Gimmler Invitational at the Bethpage Red Course in Bethpage, New York, they will stay close to home for their next challenge at the Hartford Hawks Invitational. Their second tournament of the season will take place from Sept. 18-19 at the Bull’s Bridge Golf Club in South Kent, Connecticut. This is the Huskies’ first in state competition of their 11-tournament regular season. 

A player to watch for this upcoming tournament would be UConn’s graduate student, Jared Nelson. In the Huskies’ previous match, Nelson finished in first place, which led UConn to tie for fifth place in the 15-team field. This was his second first place finish in his career at UConn. Nelson led the tournament with his 63 in the first round, the lowest round of the entire tournament and a career low for Nelson. The grad student’s dominance included racking up the most birdies of the weekend with 20 and tying for the lead in Par 5 scores, playing those 6-under-par. This was Nelson’s 14th time in his career placing in the top five of a tournament, and he looks to make it 15 this weekend in South Kent. 

After his impressive performance, Nelson was named Co-Big East Player of the week. Nelson shares this award with Seton Hall junior Wanxi Sun, who was the winner of the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Tournament this past Sunday. This is the third season in a row that Nelson has earned this Big East award. He won it in March of 2021 after being named co-champion at the Bash at the Beach in Boone, North Carolina and he earned the award in November of 2021 after his stellar 12-under round at the Ka’anapali Classic in Lahaina, Hawaii. 

Another significant player for the Huskies, junior Jimmy Paradise (Tampa, Fla.) also played a large role in this tournament. Shooting 4-under, he had his fifth top 20 finish of his career as well as his third and fourth sub-70 rounds. He tied for fourth place with shooting 67-71-68=206. Aside from Nelson, Paradise historically has been one of the top golfers on the team to do damage, and he will certainly look to do so again this weekend. 

Someone else to look for with the Huskies is freshman Colin Spencer (Mashpee, Mass.) who tied for 43rd in his first event of his college career. He shot 2-over with 73-67-72=212. Spencer will try to build on an already-strong start to his freshman campaign with a big outing this weekend. 

For the Hartford Hawks, a player to watch is junior Conor Byrne. Byrne was named Big Sky Conference Golfer of the week after his most recent performance, placing fourth at the Ryan Lee Memorial Collegiate. He led the Hawks to a sixth place finish this past weekend and over two rounds, Byrne combined for 6-under 136. Across the board, he posted a 3-under 68 in the opening and final rounds. Byrne will look to lead the Hawks yet again in their home invitational.  

It is unclear which teams will be competing in this year’s Hartford Hawks Invitational but the Huskies have some experience here, as they were participants in the Fall of 2021. Some returning players that competed last season were Tommy Dallahan (70-74-72=216), Nelson (73-81-69=223) and Paradise (78-82-79=239). Overall, the Huskies shot 874 which put them at fifth place in the tournament. 

After the outcome of last season’s Hartford Hawks Invitational, the Huskies only look to improve scores this year. Teams to possibly look out for this weekend which were placed in the top five last year over the Huskies are University of Central Florida, Seton Hall, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Sacred Heart, who rounded out the top four. Competitors will most likely be unclear until the day of the tournament but the Huskies will remain focused up until the moment they enter the tee box in the first round.  

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