After a two-week break, the UConn men’s golf team is ready to compete once again, this time at the Rutherford Intercollegiate. The participating schools are UConn, Penn State, Towson, Temple, Rhode Island, Georgetown, Valparaiso, California Baptist and Appalachian State. The Huskies hope to replicate last weekend’s success, as they finished tied for second after a poor first round. However, if UConn wants to win this meet outright, they will need to get off to a strong start. Their downfall last weekend was the first round, where they shot five over par and played catch up the final three rounds.
If the Huskies are to have any success on the golf course, they will need to clean their act up on the par-5s. UConn finished even par last tournament on them, behind eight teams that shot under par. Ultimately this has been their weak point all season. They haven’t struggled by any means, the Huskies just haven’t been able to capitalize like so many other schools have.
This squad’s strong point has been graduate student Jared Nelson. Last tournament, Nelson shot nine under, which was the best in the tournament. Because of his strong outing, he earned Big East Player of the Week honors. The athletes competing for Connecticut this weekend are Nelson, Jimmy Paradise, Vikram Konanki, Trevor Lopez, Tommy Dallahan and Colin Spencer.
The venue the Huskies will play at is the par-72 Penn State Blue Course. This course features four par-5s, including Hole 12, which has the potential to give not just the Huskies trouble, but the rest of the field as well. Hole 12 is a true par-5, featuring multiple fairway bunkers in front of a ravine, not to mention 623 yards separating the golfers from the pin. If there are any long hitters, this is a spot where they can pull ahead, as undoubtedly golfers of all levels will find themselves in trouble on this hole. Another hole to watch out for is the 14th. Hole 14 is a 190-yard par-3 that will trouble some athletes. Its green is surrounded by water and bunkers, with a sliver on the front and back featuring grass. Unless everyone in the field hits the green every time, don’t be surprised to see some 5s and 6s on scorecards. This hole will test everyone’s short game approach, as not much effort will be required for these athletes to hit the distance required, but will be for the direction they hit it. Overhitting greens is a recipe for disaster on this course. All of these holes are littered with either bunkers, water or woods on the back of the green, so the necessity of playing it short but precise for all 18 cannot be understated.
This meet will mark the end of UConn’s regular season as they will use this tournament as a tune up for the finale: the Big East Championship, which will take place from April 28 to April 30.