Arnold leads Villanova to 2nd place finish

Alex Gallucci

Last Friday and Saturday, the men’s golf team competed in the Rutgers Invitational held at Rutgers Golf Course in Piscataway, N.J. Less-than-favorable conditions tested their games, as unrelenting rain on Friday shortened the tournament from 54 holes to 36. Senior co-captain Steve Arnold described the tournament as messy and ugly. Despite the rain, and frustrations that golfing in it creates, the men played strong, leading the 16-team field by three strokes after Friday’s 18 holes. Arnold and sophomore Doug Stadler led the field after the first round with two-under par scores of 69.

Going into the final 18 holes on Saturday, the team knew they would have to play even stronger to maintain their lead. Arnold was nothing but pleased with his team’s performance.

“We put ourselves in a position to win after the first round,” Arnold said. “The guys really did a good job, everyone was struggling a little bit, but each guy was able to put up a good round, so we had a shot coming down the stretch. Seton Hall had to put up a great round to win the tournament, and there was nothing we could do about that. All and all, I thought it was a very good week for our guys and a learning experience. Hopefully we continue to put ourselves in contention and learn how to win.”

In the end, Seton Hall came out extremely strong in their final round, pushing Villanova to a respectable second place finish. In addition, the team was victorious over three Big East Conference teams, while Arnold finished second in the field with an impressive three-under-par score of 139.

Although the Wildcats have only competed in two tournaments so far, the team already has a sense of accomplishment.

“We have gotten off to a very strong start this season,” Arnold said. “We played well at Hartford and got back into the competitive mode, and we were able to play very well this weekend at Rutgers and beat a lot of good teams.”

With a good sense of team unity and superior coaching under Jake and Joe Moran who are now in their 14th year with Villanova, the season looks promising.

“We have a great group of guys on the team,” Arnold said. “Everyone gets along and we are all very competitive, which makes practice good. We are able to push each other, and it makes up a better team. Our coaches do a great job. They keep things fun and relaxed and let us do our own thing and just play golf.”

The team looks forward to its next match on Monday against Swarthmore.