While most of the golf world was focused on the Masters this weekend, Penn men’s golf had some work to do elsewhere.
The Quakers finished 11th out of 14 teams at the Princeton Invitational, which is a 54 hole tournament at the par-71 Springdale Golf Club. Penn finished with a total team score of 897, or +45, placing them behind five Ivy opponents in Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell and Columbia, and two spots ahead of Brown.
The overall result is a step back for the Red and Blue, who had already bested Cornell and Columbia in their last time out at the Towson Spring Invitational on March 25 and 26.
“I think in general we’re disappointed in our performance,” interim coach Mike Blodgett said. “I think we went out there and saw some of the teams that we consider equal competitors as us, kind of in the same category as us, and we saw our performance fall short of not just what we expected to do on the golf course but what we saw other teams were able to do out there.”
On the first day, Penn combined for a total score of 596 for the first 36 holes, putting them in 10th place. But a high 301 in the last round on Sunday allowed St. Joe’s to leapfrog from 12th into 10th, pushing the Quakers back one spot.
For Blodgett, there were several things that went wrong for his team this weekend. Most of them, however, circle back to the team not getting enough time for course practice. Due to the winter weather extending into March, the team could not get the usual amount of time outside, and was forced to adapt its practice style.
“I think we’re still trying to get into spring golf shape. We haven’t had much opportunity to be outside, or practice the way that we like to this season. So I think every time we go on the golf course we’re just finding out a little bit more about our games and where we are at for the season.”
The low scorer of the tournament for Penn was sophomore Josh Goldenberg, who shot a combined 222, tying him for 34th place at th tournament. Goldenberg was well situated after the first day, as he was tied for 15th overall with a 145. But a 77 in the final round hurt his final standing.
Other notable performances from the Quakers included 225s from both junior Carter Thompson and sophomore Zareh Kaloustian, who played in his first match of the year over the weekend.
With just one more tournament on the schedule before the Ivy Championship, there is a silver lining to this weekend’s result. The poor play can allow the team to reflect on what areas of their game they need to improve upon and come out hungry to prove they are better than what they just showed.
“We are going to use this weekend as a learning experience,” Blodgett said. “We had an opportunity to debrief on the van ride home and just discuss what we can improve on, getting ready for next week, and I expect my guys to come out with fire in their eyes, ready to go next weekend.”
While the result may not have been the outcome they wanted, not all is lost for Penn men’s golf, as there is still plenty of time to refine their game.