Penn men’s golf did not get off to the start that it wanted, but Spring Break allowed the team to shake off the rust from the long break between competitive play, and the Quakers are optimistic coming into this weekend’s Towson Spring Invitational.
This disappointing start to the spring season came in the form of a last-place finish from a field of 11 at the Colleton River Collegiate tournament in South Carolina. The Red and Blue shot a combined +81 over the 54-hole competition, which trailed 10th place Oakland by 23 strokes. Junior Carter Thompson was the team’s top performer with a tie for 18th place finish, but no other Quakers managed to crack the top 50.
Was this shaky showing a sign of things to come?
“Absolutely not. Without any doubt or question,” sophomore Josh Goldenberg said. “It was tough because we just came out of the winter, we weren’t playing outside, and that was our first tournament in several months. It didn’t really reflect how we are and how each of us play at our best.”
The golfing in South Carolina did not stop after the Colleton River Collegiate, and these practice rounds were where the players shined and gained the confidence they have going forward.
“Our ability to go low was represented in our rounds following the tournament when we played different courses,” Goldenberg remarked.
To further help improve after the disappointment in South Carolina, the team placed a strong emphasis on improving its damage control.
“A lot of times, we’ll get in a rough spot in the tournament, and then it’s tough to manage our expectations and limit the damage,” junior Amay Poria said.
This on-course experience is invaluable for the team as it prepares for the Towson Spring Invitational. The Quakers did not participate in the event last season, when Georgetown University came out on top over the field of mostly Northeastern schools— a field that figures to be much more manageable for the Red and Blue this year. The Hoyas are currently ranked 191st in the nation according to Golfstat. By comparison, Michigan State University, the team that won the Colleton River, is ranked 33rd.
With the combination of a weaker field and the team’s strong post-tournament play, many golfers are feeling confident that a strong finish is in their future.
“Our expectations are a lot higher than the first tournament, and we expect to see all the hard work we’ve been putting in come to life,” Poria said.
Penn learned a lot from its underwhelming first outing of the new season — and this weekend, expect a motivated and refined showing from the Red and Blue.
“Instead of sulk about [the first tournament] or anything like that, we kind of want to take it and use it as a positive," Goldenberg said. "We know that we’re capable and athletic enough to play well."
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