For the first time in the spring season, the Hillsdale College golf team shot a single-round team score under 300.
The last time the golf team accomplished this was in October at the Midwest Regional, when they shot 294.
At the two-day Music City Regional, the Chargers shot 300 and 296. The team placed 14th overall in the 24 team tournament and fell 25 strokes behind the first place finisher, Grand Valley State University. The tournament was on April 3 – 4 at the Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, Tennessee.
Sophomore Andrew Grayson said the 296 score on the second day is a sign the team is “breaking a streak of bad play.”
So far, however, it has not been enough to raise the team in the rankings.
At last week’s tournament in Kentucky, the team placed seventh out of 12 teams.
But head coach Nathan Gilchrist said the team needed better rankings in the future to qualify for the postseason.
“The team needs to finish in the top 5 the next three tournaments,” Gilchrist said. “There is no other way to say it than they need to play well and finish the season really strong.”
Sophomore Liam Purslowe has led the team with the low score for the last two weeks. At the Music City Regional he shot an even-par 144 and tied for sixth as an individual.
Junior Joe Torres had another strong performance this week, giving him three top 20 individual finishes in the last three tournaments. This week, Torres shot 145, coming in just one stroke behind Purslowe, and tied for 14th as an individual.
“I’d say the biggest thing for me right now is I’m hitting it as well as I ever have off the tee, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past,” Torres said. “I’ve just tried to be confident in my game and my ability to hit good shots.”
Gilchrist praised Torres for his consistent, low-scoring performances.
“Joe is a tough minded player,” Gilchrist said. “He is a grinder and works very hard on his game. He is starting to see results from the endless work he has put in.”
Torres said he hit 14 and 15 greens during the tournament, which gave him a lot of opportunities for birdies.
“I want to be top 10 the next two weeks, ultimately winning one of the events,” Torres said.
Grayson, alongside sophomore Peter Beneteau and freshman Ryan Zetwick, also played in the tournament. Grayson shot 153 and was the team’s third place finisher. Beneteau shot 154 and Zetwick shot 155.
Grayson said he got off to a rough start both rounds and battled back to post respectable scores.
“I made four birdies in round two, which was a good confidence booster to show that it’s possible to rebound after having a couple blow-up holes,” Grayson said.
Grayson said he is playing well off the tee and has been putting himself in good positions to make birdies, but he hasn’t been able to convert.
“My wedges and short game were not as good as they should have been,” Grayson said. “Had the wedges been dialed in, I could have scored much better.”
Gilchrist said the team is preparing for the end of the season just like any other tournament.
“They’re focused on improving weaknesses and becoming mentally tougher each week,” Gilchrist said.
Grayson agreed the team needs to eliminate mental mistakes.
“If we clean up the dumb mistakes — like hitting balls into the water, missing short putts and three putting — then we have a chance of finishing high and qualifying for super regionals,” Grayson said.