It was a beautiful week for golf in Palm City, Florida where the UConn Huskies participated in a three-day tournament. However, the sun wasn’t shining brightly on Connecticut, as they shot 31-over par which was good enough for an 11th-place tie with Oakland. This finish is disappointing for a UConn team that finished in fourth place in this exact tournament last season. On the bright side, the Huskies beat out fellow Big East rival Villanova by four strokes.
Another positive for UConn was that graduate student Jared Nelson tied for 15th place after shooting 3-over par. Nelson, the leader of this Husky team, improved upon his scores throughout the first three rounds shooting 75, 73 and 71 respectively. Nelson and the Huskies played good golf until it got to the par 5’s. Connecticut struggled mightily on par 5’s, as they averaged 5.13 strokes per hole. This may not seem that bad, however this was the third worst average in the tournament, giving the competition the leeway they needed to pull away from the Huskies.
While UConn wasn’t breaking any records, an interesting storyline was following UNC Greensboro golfer Nick Lyerly, who shot a whopping 12-under par — seven strokes less than the second-place finisher. Despite Lyerly’s amazing performance, UNCG finished in second place three strokes behind Drexel. For the Huskies, Nelson, Tommy Dallahan, Eric Boulger, Jimmy Paradise and Colin Spencer shot 219, 225, 226, 230 and 232 strokes, respectively.
While people may hear this and believe that this UConn team is not talented, that is simply not the case. Through the first round, the Huskies shot a combined 293, good enough to tie them for second place behind Big East rival Butler. Connecticut then lost their momentum from the first round after shooting 305 in the second round, which netted them an 11th-place finish for the day. The Huskies had a slightly better final round, shooting 297, which tied them for 11th place. While there was only a difference of a couple strokes among these three days, the placings for Connecticut goes to show how stiff the competition is and how talented the field was.
UConn will be hoping for a better result in their next tournament, which will take place from March 4-5 in the Desert Mountain Invitational at the Desert Mountain Golf Club located in Scottsdale, Arizona.