Temple University men’s golf turned in one of its best performances in tournament history this weekend at the Princeton Invitational.
The team finished the three-round tournament on Saturday and Sunday in third place with an 847 team score, which ranks as the Owls’ lowest at a 54-hole tournament. Temple shot 5-under par at the Springdale Golf Club, a par-71 course in Princeton, New Jersey.
With only one more regular-season invitational left and the American Athletic Conference championships less than two weeks away, coach Brian Quinn said the team is beginning to “gel together,” coming off their top-three performance.
Senior Gary McCabe, redshirt senior John Barone, senior Trey Wren, redshirt junior Erik Reisner and freshman Conor McGrath propelled the Owls to a third-place result by combining to shoot 5-under par. McCabe, Barone and Wren each placed in the top-16 of the individual competition.
The Owls have improved their performance from their past two tournaments. Temple placed 10th out of 18 teams at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate on March 11 then finished seventh out of 21 teams at the Golden Horseshoe Intercollegiate on March 24.
This weekend’s result in New Jersey gives Quinn confidence in his team heading into the Owls’ last two competitions, he said.
“We’ve done some nice things this spring and we kind of had some half-decent-at-best tournaments,” Quinn added. “It was good to finish the way we finished [Sunday]. That felt good for the kids which made me happy.”
Though the Owls finished third, they had a disappointing performance on their first day of the Princeton Invitational, Quinn said. The Owls had a three-hole stretch that cost the team 10 strokes, Quinn said. But in the second round, Temple recorded 15 under-pars as a team.
Temple salvaged its record win in the third round in large part to McCabe, who set several career milestones over the weekend. In the final round, he made two birdies and shot 1-under 70.
His final round followed a second round where he recorded six birdies and finished 3-under par to record the lowest score in his Temple career. McCabe finished in an eighth-place tie with a 209, both marking career bests on a 54-hole course.
McCabe played at the Springdale Golf Club for the fourth time in his Temple career. His familiarity with the course allowed him to turn in his best performance of his collegiate career.
“[Quinn] always says everything is in preparation for the conference championships,” McCabe said. “So it’s a good time to be playing some good golf.”
Barone saved his score in the final two rounds. After shooting 4-over par in the first round, he shot 68 and 67 in the second and third rounds, respectively, and finished the tournament tied for 11th at 210.
Reisner also had a strong final round on Sunday with three birdies and recorded a 2-under par score in the final round. He and McGrath finished in a tie for 46th.
“I knew [Reisner] was going to play good today and he did,” Quinn said. “He just shot a really good score and led the way for us.”
Wren started the event strong, shooting 3-under par in the first round, but he could have had an even better round. A few missed putts and poor shots cost him up to six strokes that round, Quinn said.
Wren finished the weekend with an even-par 213 score, which tied him for 16th place.
Quinn has seen gradual improvement as the season progressed, he said. But with one more meet remaining before the conference championships from April 21-23, Quinn feels optimistic about Temple’s chances in the championship tournament.
The Owls will participate in the Explorer Invitational on Monday before traveling to Palm Harbor, Florida, for the conference championship.
“I’m really excited to see how we can stack up,” Quinn added. “Hopefully we rattle some cages and have a good week [at the conference championships].”