Wildcats place 10th in competitive field of 12

Alex Gallucci

After competing in several difficult tournaments the past few weeks, the men’s golf team was determined to end its fall season on a good note with a strong showing this past weekend at the Big East/MAC Challenge. The tournament was held at the 7,176-yard, par 72 Orange County National Resort in Winter Garden, Fla.

Senior co-captain Steve Arnold commented optimistically on his expectations for the tournament.

“We’ve had a few good weeks of practice, and the team looks good,” he said. “The biggest focus for this week is to improve on what we have been doing and get in contention for the tournament. The field is very strong with a lot of very good Big East teams. It would be very nice to end the year beating them and setting the tone for how we want to play next semester.”

Arnold expressed his high expectations not only for the team, but also for himself.

“I know I haven’t been playing anywhere near the best of my abilities and nowhere close to the standard I set last year, so I want to reestablish myself as one of the best players in the Big East and hopefully lead the team to victory,” he said.

The field consisted of 12 extremely competitive teams, including eight from the Big East Conference and four from the Mid-Atlantic Conference. Powerhouse University of Akron took team medalist honors with an impressive score of 863 (-1), shutting out second-place Marquette by two strokes.

Akron’s Ben Sieg also took medalist honors with an impressive combined score of 209 (-7). The Wildcats showed notable improvement from their last two tournaments, shooting team scores of 293-294-306, which landed them in 10th place. Arnold led Villanova, achieving team medalist honors. His scores of 71, 72 and 77 for a combined score of 220 (+4) earned him a respectable 16th place in a four-way tie. Behind Arnold came sophomores Doug Stadler (+11, 44th), Brett Bergman and Andrew Alexander (+12, 45th). Senior co-captain Brock Bergman finished one stroke behind them in 49th place at 13 over par. In such a difficult field, the team has much to be proud of, especially after having dealt with a difficult mid-season struggle.

The spring season will begin with the William & Mary Invitational on March 25-26. Until then, the team has plenty of time to both relax and focus on ways to improve its game for the spring season. There is no doubt that the team possesses a great deal of talent. For its next season, building confidence and mental strength will transform it into an outstanding team. Arnold’s faith in the team will only help them to have greater success in the future.

“We have a great deal of talent, and as soon as it all comes together, we could do some very impressive things,” he said.