The first tournament of the spring usually brings sunshine and hope to the men’s golf team.
After a winter filled of knocking balls around the Goergen Athletic Center Field House, they were ready to get out in the warmth and stretch their legs. Unfortunately, the weather did not get the memo.
Over a cold weekend, the Yellowjackets golf team was a hot spot at the McDaniel Spring Invitational in Abbottstown, Md.
‘There really is no feel whatsoever when you’re playing in that kind of cold, but we don’t mind,” head coach Dan Wesley said. ‘We try to pride ourselves on letting tough conditions work to our advantage.”
With 15 East Coast teams coming out for the Invitational, the Yellowjackets weren’t the only one entering their first tournament in over four months.
However with sophomore Michael Chudacoff and juniors Chris Driscoll and Ryan Williams all finishing in the top 15 out of 78 players, the Yellowjackets could not be stopped.
Chudacoff was the star of the tournament on a demanding par 72 course, shooting a two and four over on the two days of competition.
At the end of play he was tied with four other players for second overall at the tournament.
‘Overall, I personally stayed very focused this past weekend and played really well,” Chudacoff said. ‘I had a good attitude going in and didn’t let the tough conditions affect how I played.”
Also involved in bringing the Yellowjackets into third place was Driscoll who tied for 11th and Williams who tied for 14th.
‘I think the team had a solid first tournament; there were some times when we lost our focus and threw shots away,” Driscoll said. ‘Overall, it was a good way to start the season, but there is definitely still room for improvement. To get better we just need to work hard at practice and take everything one shot at a time.”
The Yellowjackets’ last tournament came at the New York University Fall Classic in October where they finished in second place behind Skidmore College.
The Yellowjackets waited throughout the cold winter to show that they were going to be true contenders in the National Collegiate Athletic Association DIII Competition.
Although Wesley College and Susquehanna University came out in first and second place, they only finished five and four points ahead, respectively.
The Yellowjackets were easily within shouting distance of the top contenders at the tournament.
‘It was definitely a step in the right direction but this coming weekend will be huge for us,” Williams said. ‘We have another shot at the two teams that beat us this weekend and we need to capitalize on it by playing well.”
The team is focused on themselves and improving their game for the rest of the season.
‘We just need to concentrate (individually and collectively) on being the best we can be on a daily basis,” Wesley said. ‘If we do all we can to maximize our potential and not get caught up in end results while we’re playing, then we’ll be fine and I honestly won’t care what other teams shoot.”
The team will travel to Hershey, Pa. for the Mid-Atlantic Region Invitational on April 4, where their skills and mental toughness will be tested by their competitors, and by Mother Nature.
Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.