Despite a fourth-place finish at the Hartford Hawk Invitational, the Owls felt their performance in the two-day tournament left a lot to be desired.
Coming off a year in which the team struggled to find consistency, a fourth-place finish would seem like a positive one. Last year, the team had two top-four finishes compared to five tournaments in which it finished no better than ninth.
But the team couldn’t be anything but disappointed Wednesday.
“The team finish was a little more disappointing,” junior Brandon Matthews said. “We were expecting to be in the top three, at worst … it was the first tournament. We were a little rusty.”
Matthews was especially unhappy with his performance. After shooting a 3-under-par 69 after the first round, he was tied for first place. He followed that with a 1-over (73) and a 2-over (74), which pushed him back to a fourth-place finish.
“I regressed as the week went on,” Matthews said. “I didn’t play that well.”
Senior Matt Teesdale shared a similar sentiment with Matthews. Teesdale, who finished tied for 20th, wasn’t happy with his performance and said he knows he needs to do better.
“I wouldn’t say it was rust, but there is no excuse after having all summer to play … I just didn’t have it,” Teesdale.
For redshirt senior Patrick Ross, whose eighth-place finish ranked second on the team, this was a different type of tournament.
Not only was it Ross’ first collegiate tournament since coming to Temple in Fall 2013, he also returned back to Connecticut to face his old team, hosts University of Hartford.
“It has been a while … to do it again felt different,” Ross said.
Yet, Ross said he feels he had a lot of room for improvement.
“I did alright,” Ross said. “I think I could have done better. I left a lot of shots out there … it was my first event and finishing in the Top 10, I’ll take it.”
Ross said the time off did not factor in to his play. He believes it was more off the challenges posed from in-season collegiate golf as opposed to summer play.
“It’s different. College golf is so much different than playing summer golf,” Ross said. “You cannot prepare as well as you do for summer tournaments.”
But a positive moment in the tournament for Ross came on the final day. He was paired with Hartford junior William Betts, who is a friend of Ross. Betts and Ross spent time this summer in Pittsburgh playing tournaments together.
Despite the friendship, Ross said his focus was on winning.
“I personally wanted to beat them, but it was great to see them,” Ross said of his former teammates. “I know a lot of them … I’m happy for them.”
Up next for the Owls is The Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge on Sept. 26-27. For a team that hasn’t finished first in a tournament since April 2013, the team is aiming for better.
“We want to win,” Ross said. “That is all we want to do.”
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MikeG2511.