On Sept. 20- 21, five players on the Hillsdale College men’s golf team competed and earned 15th at the Doc Spragg Fall Invitational in Findlay, Ohio. In its second tournament of the season, the team shot 300 – 299-298 – 897 overall.
The Chargers played against teams from 17 other schools, placing 15th. Matt Thompson, the head coach of the team, brought five of his players to Findlay for the Invite. Freshman Oscar Darlington, senior Josh Davenport, and juniors Drew Gandy, Darragh Monaghan, and Gerry Jones Jr.
Davenport led the Chargers with a 32nd place finish, he carded a 71 – 77-73 – 221 for the invite. He also led the tournament on par-3s, shooting ‑2. Right behind Davenport was Jones, who finished in 39th place with a 75 – 74-74 – 223 scorecard.
Jones had either Hillsdale’s best or second-best score in each of the three rounds of the invite, the only Charger to do so.
Last year, four of the team’s players — two seniors and two fifth-year seniors — graduated, Thompson said. Four freshmen joined the team this year to fill out the roster.
“The guys we’ve got on the team this year are great,” Gandy said. “I feel like our team chemistry has been doing really well so far.”
With so much turnover on their roster, Gandy said there is a learning curve for the team as they find a place for everyone.
“We lost some pretty big components of our team after last year, so just finding the right pieces to put together is going to be crucial,” Gandy said.
Although they lost some key players from last year, Davenport remained positive about this year’s team.
“Everyone showed up and seems ready to work,” Davenport said.
While their ranking in the second tournament of the year wasn’t what they had hoped for, the team is hopeful for the rest of the season.
“I think we improved every round this week,” Davenport said. “Not everyone’s played too much competitive golf at this point in the season, so we just have to be ready come championship time.”
Thompson said he agreed, pointing out that the team’s four freshmen, Charlie Beldon, Darlington, Chris DesFassiaux, and Filippo Reale will get better as the season goes on.
“We haven’t started out all that strong — a couple rough tournaments so far, but we’ll get back to work,” Thompson said. “I think once everybody settles in, especially the new guys, we’ll just start to get better.”
Meanwhile, the team practices about 20 hours a week in Hayden park and at local golf courses, Thompson said.
The team will participate in the Kyle Ryman Memorial Oct. 4 – 5 hosted by Tiffin.