After placing fifth last week at the season-opening Doc Gimmler Invitational in Bethpage, New York, the UConn men’s golf team scored a third-place finish a little closer to home. Competing against 15 other schools in the Hartford Hawks Invitational in South Kent, Connecticut, the Huskies ended their weekday tournament on the podium.
Connecticut’s Jared Nelson took home the individual gold last weekend and almost did so again on Tuesday, as he placed tied for second overall out of 95 golfers at Bull’s Bridge Golf Club. Nelson was as consistent as ever, putting up a 69-68-68=205. This performance puts him at six sub-70 rounds on the year in as many attempts, and the 11-under score put him in a tie for silver with UCF’s Johnny Travale. Nelson’s total score was the third-lowest of his whole college career. Coming in first place was another Golden Knight, Luis Carrera, who shot a 16-under thanks to a big 63 in his second round.
These two massive finishes led UCF to victory, as the Knights took home both the individual and team titles in the tournament. Their combined 35-under was phenomenal and took down every other team by a very comfortable margin. In second place was Towson, thanks to three top-16 finishes by Julian Gonzales, Jeremy Summerson and Brad Riley, respectively. Their combined finish of 7-under was just enough to topple the Huskies, who were one stroke before them at 6-under. Connecticut, however, still had a successful weekend, beating out squads like LIU, Bryant, Fairfield and Sacred Heart.
UConn was led by the Vermont native Nelson, but junior Jimmy Paradise also saw plenty of success in South Kent. Paradise’s 1-under 70-74-71=215 was good for 12th place overall. This was the fifth top-20 finish of Paradise’s collegiate career, and his first and third rounds of the invitational were his 11th and 12th rounds of par-or-better, respectively.
Not far behind Paradise was freshman and Massachusetts native Colin Spencer, whose 1-over 70-71-76=217 was the best finish of his young career. Spencer shot a 2-over 212 in the Doc Gimmler Invitational last weekend and is rising up quickly the starting chart for the Huskies, as he has moved from the No. 5 spot to the No. 3. Spencer looks to continue his hot start and become an integral piece for Connecticut this season.
Also finishing for the Huskies were sophomores Vikram Konanki and Eric Boulger, who finished with a consistent 226 and 233, good for 10-over and 17-over, respectively. Playing as an individual, sophomore Connor Goode surprised some spectators, finishing tied for 42nd place with a 4-over 220. His score of 71 in the third and final round of the invitational was a great sign of things to come for the rookie. Christopher Sacher also played as an individual, placing 87th overall and shooting a 235 after a shaky third round.
UConn gets a bit of a break with this weekend off, but the Huskies will pick up again on Oct. 2 when they host the UConn Invitational at Greathorse out in Hampden, Massachusetts. Play will start on that Sunday and continue through Tuesday, Oct. 4.