Owls’ top two golfers work for ‘bragging rights’

Junior Dawson Anders and sophomore Conor McGrath are the Owls’ best golfers this season.

Junior Dawson Anders (left) and sophomore Conor McGrath practice their swings at BQ Golf Academy driving range in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania on Oct. 21. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Junior Dawson Anders and sophomore Conor McGrath have been among the top three performers for Temple golf in each tournament this season. 

Anders is currently the Owls’ No. 2 player. McGrath is the No. 1 player after competing in 23 of 32 rounds as a freshman in 2018. 

For McGrath, the transition to being a key player has been a challenging adjustment, he said.

“Being a freshman, you had to know your place and kind of hang back,” McGrath added. “I really learned a lot from [last year’s seniors] and this year, I’m just trying to take what I learned from them last year and how they led the team and try to put that into what I’m doing this year.”

Anders competed in several Temple outings when he was a freshman in 2017, but only appeared in three tournaments during his sophomore year. Anders is back to playing regularly but is grateful for his time off last season.

“I was going through some changes to make my game better, which I knew it would become what it is now,” Anders said. “It’s much better, much more consistent.”

As the team’s top golfers, Anders and McGrath feel pressure to play well enough for Temple to compete against other teams in the American Athletic Conference, they said.  

McGrath came out a 69.6 average per round at the Owls’ last tournament in Burlington, North Carolina on Oct. 14-15. He placed 17th out of 97. 

Anders tied for 72nd in North Carolina with 74 average. 

This season, Anders has a 73.9 stroke average and McGrath has a 72.66 stroke average.

Both Anders and McGrath were in the field of qualifiers for the U.S. Open Amateur Tournament in August, but only Anders qualified. 

Anders missed the cut to move on to the final rounds. 

“It was good to finally see my hard work pay off and play at the highest level of amateur golf,” Anders said.

Temple golf is ranked 193rd in the country, but the team finds ways to motivate each other despite its low standing.  

“Bragging rights are a big part of our team,” McGrath said. “We’re always talking trash and stuff, and if we’re out there you want to be the best, you want to beat everyone, even though you’re on the same team.”

Both Anders and McGrath are highly competitive with each other, but this motivates them, they said.

The key to making a team good is always trying to beat each other, Anders added. 

“I know there’s a lot of competitiveness,” coach Brian Quinn said. “Everyone wants to shoot the best score, be the low man for the week, win the tournament, but I think that’s a healthy thing.” 

The opportunity to play the game against other schools is what fuels them both to play at the high level they’re at so far. 

“You just want to play well for [the team] and do your best and get as good as you can for them,” McGrath said.  “We’re all working towards a common goal.” 

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