Led by senior Jason Bronstein, who finished fifth individually, the golf team took second place at the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Division III Golf Championships Sunday in Saratoga.
Tied for the lead after day one with a two-over 74, Bronstein enjoyed success off the tee and on the green. After triple-bogeying the first hole, he played the rest of the round one-under par.
“I just focused on the targets and stopped being so technical,” Bronstein said. “The conditions were so bad that all I could think about was hitting the ball and nothing else.”
But Sunday was a different story for the Yellowjacket co-captain, as Bronstein struggled to keep pace on the back nine. Double-bogeys on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes dropped him down the leader board as he stumbled to a two-day 154.
Freshman Patrick Shanahan also played an important role in the runner-up finish for UR. After shooting 80 on the first day, Shanahan settled down and carded a three-over 75 on Sunday.
He finished the tournament one place behind Bronstein – tied with four other players for sixth individually with a 155.
Coming in tied for 22nd place was freshman Colin Quillinan, who carded a 161. Senior Dave Masters shot a 164 and freshman Joe Derigo finished with a 165.
Only four strokes behind team leader Skidmore College after play ended Saturday, the Yellowjackets had left themselves in position to overtake their conference rival during the final round.
But high scores on the second day only caused the gap to increase. UR totaled a 634, 15 strokes behind the champion Thoroughbreds, who won their third consecutive ECAC title.
“We got our asses kicked by Skidmore on Sunday,” Bronstein said. “Everyone who was playing poorly continued to play poorly, except for Patrick. The guys didn’t deal well with pin placements.”
New York University and St. Lawrence University followed UR on the team scoreboard, tying for third with 639.
On Sept. 25, the Yellowjackets won the ECAC Upstate New York Qualifier with a score of 302. UR beat out second-place Clarkson University by one stroke and Skidmore finished two back of the Yellowjackets in third place with a 304.
The low scorer for UR was Shanahan, who carded a 72. Masters and Quillinan both shot 75s and Bronstein and Derigo each posted 80s.
UR simultaneously competed in the Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association Championships, finishing second to Skidmore with a 300.
The Yellowjackets will get another crack at the best competition the area has to offer when they play in the Bon Appetite Fall Shootout this weekend. Mid-Atlantic regional rivals Allegheny College and Susquehanna College will make the trip to Upstate New York to compete in the 12-team tournament.
Day one action will take place at Blue Herron Hills Country Club in Walworth. The schools will then move to Irondequoit Country Club in Pittsford for Monday’s final round.
“It would be pretty good to win this tournament,” Bronstein said. “It would be real important for Nationals to beat two top teams in our region. We can do it, but we need some guys to start believing they can win.”
The team will close their fall season Oct. 25 and 26 when they head to the Nike Ocean City Collegiate Classic in Ocean City, Md.
Gerton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.