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BG golfers start slow at Rutherford but finish in sixth place

The men’s golf team appeared to be picking up speed this past weekend, placing sixth overall at the Rutherford Intercollegiate Tournament, and finishing with three golfers amongst the top 23.

The Falcons had a slow start to day one, a problem that has plagued their score cards all spring. After 18 holes, Bowling Green sat in ninth place.

The slow start to the tournament would be countered, however, by a strong performance in the second round. The Falcons cut seven strokes off of their first round total to finish the second round with a 295, the fourth lowest score of the round.

“Then it poured rain for five hours the second day we played,” head coach Gary Winger said. “It just seems to follow us around every weekend.”

Mother nature reared its ugly head again all during the third round, once again helping to make the Falcons’ final score card look like a roller coaster. With all of the rain, BG saw 22 more strokes in the third round than they had seen in the second, and still there were teams that faired much worse.

Individual performances by senior captain Jace Walker and a pair of sophomores, John Powers and Matt Schneider, were the high point of the weekend.

The two sophomores played some of their best golf since coming to BG last year, Powers finishing 18th and Schneider 23rd. Both golfers were thrown off by the inclement elements, carding 79’s in their respective final rounds.

Jace Walker continued his transformation back to the elite form he showcased this past fall with his 15th place finish. Still, even with one of the most impressive performances of the spring, Walker left Pennsylvania unsatisfied.

“I didn’t play very well at all,” Walker said. “I was playing OK until the end, and then I just had one bad hole that probably cost me a finish in the top five.”

Walker, who has the potential to end his career in BG as the greatest golfer in school history, also said, “We’re getting there; we’ve got bits and pieces coming together every week, but just haven’t put it all together yet.”

Walker finished with a 227 overall, four strokes behind that of Penn State’s Kevin Foley, who ended up in sixth.

Trevor Spathelf and Russell Goodwin were also in action in Pennsylvania, finishing 43rd and 54th, respectively.

The Falcons will now travel to Kent State on Saturday for the First Energy Intercollegiate Tournament for one day of golf and a final tune-up before the Mid American Conference Championship Tournament on May 2-4.

If BG can put all of the pieces together, as Walker says they must, then a strong performance in the MAC Championship is within their grasp, as well as a storybook ending to one of BG’s most successful careers in history.

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