Falcons overcome conditions to pick up second team win of season

Reporter and Reporter

The BG men’s golf team put March behind it and started April with a statement by winning the 2012 Rutherford Intercollegiate this weekend. The 54-hole event was held at the Blue Course and hosted by Penn State University.

This was the first tournament win for the Falcons since BG hosted the John Piper Intercollegiate back in mid-September of 2011. All five BG golfers finished in the top 21 of the 77 person field, which compiled their total score of 901.

“It was great to see and I was very proud of our compete level this week,” said coach Garry Winger. “After a pretty disappointing tournament two weeks ago, it was quite a turnaround and that can be the game of golf.”

After approximately an hour and 15 minute delay due to frost on day one, the Falcons put themselves in great position by firing a 303, which was good for third place and only two shots off the lead. All five Falcon golfers shot 78 or lower to obtain the team score.

BG went back out for the late afternoon second round and kept the momentum going by posting a 297. At this time the Falcons thought they were in first place heading into day two and the last 18 holes. However, and interestingly enough, darkness did become an issue as the day concluded because, despite all BG golfers finishing 36 holes, one Indiana University of Pennsylvania golfer chose not to play his last hole. Therefore, he was forced to finish his round Sunday morning.

All teams arrived Sunday morning at the Blue Course. Once IUP had officially finished its round, the Falcons found themselves in second place trailing IUP by two shots.

“We were finished and so was everyone else,” Winger said. “We thought we were sleeping on the lead because of the 297 [second round score] in difficult conditions but we showed up the next morning and saw him finish and realized we were two shots down. So I was proud of them in the way they handled that and the mindset of thinking we were winning, to now thinking we are in second.”

Despite the change on the leader board, the Falcons did not let anything bother them and fired a last round 301 to IUP’s 310 and beat IUP by seven shots. The 301 was the second best score for the last day to Eastern Michigan’s 300, who finished sixth in the tournament.

“We talked about composure going into that final round,” Winger said. “It had been quite a long time since we have been in that position really since the month of September. Composure was important for that final day under difficult conditions while trying to win a golf tournament. No matter how we started, individually I wanted the guys to keep their composure, keep competing and keep battling and I think that’s exactly what they did. So I’m very proud of them for that.”

Individually for the Falcons, Parker Hewit led the way by earning his second top-five finish in his career by shooting a 224 (76-76-72) that tied him for fourth place. Drew Preston (76-75-78) and Charlie Olson (78-73-77) both tied for 12th by carding scores of 228. Rounding out the BG team score tying for 21st with scores of 231 were Wes Gates (75-81-75) and Chris Melvin (76-73-82). Also competing from BG as an individual was Joe Cooper, who scored a 240 (77-80-83) tying for 55th.

The victory also came extra special for Winger because Penn State head coach Greg Nye was at the tournament. Nye is the former BG head golf coach when Winger was a participant on the team.

Additionally, St. Bonaventure head coach John Powers was present. Powers is a 2010 BG graduate who played for Winger in addition to overseeing operation at Stone Ridge Golf Club.

“For me personally it was a great tournament on so many levels,” Winger said. “It was quite a neat moment to have the three of us together at the same event, which may never happen again. It was quite a nice weekend for that to happen.”

The Falcons will try and continue their momentum in Columbus April 14 and 15 at the Kepler Intercollegiate.