After finishing an impressive 2007-2008 campaign, the men’s golf team opened this season at the Rutgers Invitational in Piscataway, N.J. Last year was highlighted with three second place finishes and a first place tie in the opening round of the Yale Spring Opener.
The Owls, returning all eight starters from last season along with newcomer freshman Devin Bibeau, completed Friday’s round in seventh place with an 8-over-par 292, putting them 11 shots behind the defending champions USC Upstate.
Senior Kevin Busteed shot a 36 on the front nine and a 34 on the back nine, giving him a career-best finish of a 1-under-par 70. It topped his previous best of 71, set at the Treasure Coast Classic in March 2007.
Day 2 saw the Owls shooting a 5-over-par 289, their lowest score since the final round of last season’s Atlantic Ten Conference Championship, where they shot a 1-under-par 287. It was also the second-lowest round under coach Brian Quinn.
Junior Eric Plisko finished the day tied for 21st at 2-over-par while shooting a 2-under-par 69, one stroke off his career best set at the Princeton Invitational. With a career-best round of 3-over-par 74, was sophomore Joseph Kim, who along with fellow sophomore Andrew Mason, had the most consistent outings of the Invitational with a 75-74 and a 72-73 respectively.
Kim’s previous record of 75 was set in the Princeton Invitational, while Mason came within five strokes of topping his career best set during the Mount St. Mary’s Invitational.
Weather played a huge factor in round one, but not so much in round two. Senior Paul Amess said weather conditions require a lot of adjustments by the golfers.
“The main thing to do is be as positive as possible, as you know other guys around the course will be struggling and blaming the weather,” Amess said. “Also, make sure to bring extra gloves and towels.
“The main thing is to keep a positive attitude and welcome challenge and [in my opinion], it can even make the game more fun,” he added.
As a team, the Owls finished 13-over-par, shooting a 292-289=581, which left them in eighth place, 14 shots back of Seton Hall, who defeated USC Upstate by a stroke. Amazingly, the Pirates were down six strokes entering the second round, but carded a 279 to USC’s 287 to pull out the win, thanks in part to freshman Troy Spencer’s tournament-best 67. Earning individualist medalist honors was Towson’s Chris Scialo with a 5-under-par 68-69=137.
Not competing in the Invitational was the 2007 Temple Male Student-Athlete of the Year, ESPN the Magazine’s Academic All-American, A-10 Academic All-Conference Selection, and Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Golfer Amess.
Amess, a graduate student, finished last season with a stroke average of 73.9 and a 14th place finish in the A-10 Championship.
“If I make the team [this season] I hope to win a tournament individually for the university, especially after a few close shaves last year,” he said. “My main focus is to see the team do as best as they can from the classroom to the course, where I can lend a hand with low scores and share some of my golfing knowledge.
“I expect the team to win several tournaments, strongly contend in the Atlantic 10 Championships and become the best team in the region.”
Amess’ success in the classroom, posting a 3.9 GPA as a business finance major, has prompted him not only to strive for commitment and dedication, but has motivated other golfers as well.
The Owls will begin a five-day road trip at the McLaughlin in Farmingdale, N.Y. on Sept. 19 and 20.
After the two-day tournament, the team travels to Newport, R.I. for the Adams Cup of Newport on Sept. 22 and 23. The Adams Cup is one of the top tournaments on the East Coast.
Joe Polinsky can be reached at email@example.com.