Men’s golf finished tied for fifth
The Idaho Vandals men’s golf team finished in a tie for fifth in their first tournament of the year this week after waffling on whether to play at all.The Itani Quality Homes College Tournament in Pullman began on Monday and the Vandals woke up having to decide if they were going to participate since they are still waiting on official word from the NCAA on whether sophomore Sean McMullen would be able to participate. Team captain senior Gordon Webb and men’s golf coach John Means decided that playing a course they were familiar with would be in their best interest, even if they weren’t at full power.
“We consider that a home event because we play that golf course all the time, so we figured that would give us a couple strokes advantage,” Means said.
After the first round the Vandals were sitting in a tie for second place with Arizona, which both shot a 306 for the round.
The second round started later on Monday and the Vandals had crept up to the lead, but a sick Zachary Wanderscheid had to withdraw and the Vandals plummeted all the way down to fifth.
“We went from first place after 27 to fourth place, 15 strokes behind after the last nine,” Means said. “You can’t leave Sean and Zach out of the lineup and expect to have great results.”
Means said the first day had been played in 40 mph gusts and while scores improved for the majority of the teams in completion, including the Vandals, the Vandals play was never as good as it was in the opening round.
The Vandals’ combined 296 on Tuesday sealed a fifth place tie with Gonzaga. This left the Vandals at 44 over par and 33 strokes behind Washington State who ran away with the tournament, with their closest competitor Arizona at 23 over par.
The best individual finish for the Vandals was sophomore Aaron Cockerill, who finished in a tie for 10th place at seven over par for the tournament. The next best Vandal finisher was Webb, who finished in a tie for 15th at 11 over par. Rounding out for the Vandals were freshman Dylan Baker tied for 29th at 14 over par, junior Alex Pounds tied for 50th at 20 over par, senior Mark Giorgi tied for 56th at 25 over par and freshman Scott Riled tied for 62nd at 26 over par.
The individual leader of the tournament was Hank Frame of Washington State and the only golfer to break under par at three under.
Means said that while there are things the Vandals have to work on, their on ball striking is looking good.
“Our ball striking was pretty good — it was pretty impressive how they hit the ball, it just didn’t get in the hole fast enough,” Means said.
Time may now be on the Vandals’ side as they have next week off before they head to Boise to compete in the Dash Thomas Memorial on Sept. 24-25. Means said the time will be focusing on improving certain parts of their game.
“Our short game still is not great, our course management was better,” Means said. “There are still too many short putts missed.”
Jacob Dyer can be reached at email@example.com