Vandals battle strong winds, finish second – McMullen’s sixth-place finish leads Idaho in Jim Colbert Intercollegiate
The Vandal men’s golf team battled 40 mph gusts on Monday to put them in range of taking home the prize, but just couldn’t catch up to Kansas State.
The Vandals combined for a score of 912 over the three round, two-day tournament which was good enough to solidify a second place finish at the Jim Colbert Intercollegiate played at Colbert Hills in Manhattan, Kan. The Vandals found themselves only three strokes behind Kansas State after the first day.
“We did a nice job the first day. I thought that Kansas State would have gone out and gotten a pretty good lead because they play in high winds all the time,” coach John Means said. “I was a little nervous after I saw our scores — I thought we were probably going to be 10, 12 behind, but we weren’t. They didn’t play very well in that wind so I was pretty excited.”
The Vandals opened the tournament in the first round with a 308 and were able to finish seven strokes behind Kansas State. Helping the Vandals out was the play of the freshman Dylan Baker, who shot a 72.
Continuing to fight the gusts, the Vandals went out for the second round on Monday and shot the best second round of the tournament with a 304 and made up four strokes on Kansas State. Helping the cause for the Vandals was sophomore Sean McMullen, who scored a 71.
Means said after the strong first day performance, the team had high hopes going into Tuesday.
“The week before when we played individuals down in Boise, we had all those guys shooting in the 60’s, so I thought they know the course now, there’s no wind,” Means said. “We can do what we do best and make some birdies and put this thing away—it didn’t happen, we played very well, we just didn’t make any putts.”
The Vandals went out in the third round and, as a team, shot their best round of the tournament with a 300. Unfortunately for them, so did everyone else—including Kansas State, whose 292 helped the Wildcats run away with the tournament.
Senior captain Gordon Webb had his best round of the tournament on Monday with a 2 under par 70, and could have been even better as he had nine birdie putts within 10 feet and only made two of them. Nonetheless, his finish was good enough for a fourth place finish.
McMullen finished in a tie for sixth, Baker in a tie for eighth, sophomore Aaron Cockerill finished in eleventh and rounding it out for the Vandals was senior Mark Giorgi tied for 43rd.
With the best finish of the fall season, they now find themselves in the precarious position of having two weeks off until they compete again. Means said the Vandals are hungry to get back to competing, and getting that close to victory is only going to make them want it more.
“We definitely know what we have to work on because the ball striking was good, our short game was good — we’re hitting the ball up and down when we miss the greens, but we just weren’t able to convert on birdie opportunities,” he said.
Jacob Dyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org