The GW golf team won the 11th Annual St. Bonaventure-Leo Keenan Invitational at Bartlett Country Club in Olean, N.Y., Monday, marking the program’s first tournament win since the Rutgers Invitational in April, 1996.
After finishing play Monday, the Colonials fired a team score of 607 (299-308) over the 36-hole event to run away from the 18-team field, which included three Atlantic 10 squads. GW finished nine strokes ahead of runner-up St. Bonaventure (616) and 12 strokes ahead of third-place Duquesne (619).
After posting birdies on the first two holes, junior Darren Ressler provided Sunday’s highlight when he sunk a hole-in-one on the 159-yard par-three 11th hole, which Coach Scott Allen believes to be the first ace by a GW golfer during competition. Ressler finished that round four-over par at 74.
“Darren was very disappointed over the way he played up at Yale,” Allen said. “He came to me before the match and told me that he wanted to do some good things to inspire the other guys.”
Sophomore Bryan Derdenger was the lowest scoring Colonial, placing second over the weekend with a 149 (76-73) total, including an eagle Monday. Derdenger finished four strokes off the pace set by St. Francis (PA) golfer John Handrigan, who shot a 145 (72-73).
Sunday’s perfect golfing weather turned into late November football weather Monday as drizzling rain brought the temperature to 45 degrees.
“The way we were scheduled had some of the guys nervous,” Allen said. “We had to play some of the tougher holes first, and we weren’t playing great. But, we turned it around on the back nine.”
Junior Gavin Parsons, whose play Allen characterized as “steady,” carded a 152 (76-76) to tie for ninth place among 90 golfers. Teammate Thomas Blankvoort finished two strokes behind Parsons with a 154 (73-81), putting him in a tie for 14th.
After a poor showing at the Yale Invitational, GW golf dropped to 18th in the region. However, after the win at Olean, the team climbed back into the top 10. GW next competes in the Lehigh-Stabler Intercollegiate Invitational Oct. 15-16 at the Center Valley Golf Club in Bethlehem, Pa. Allen said the real test of the season will come the weekend after that at the elite James Madison University Invitational, which will consist of the top 24 teams in the region.
“We’re confident we can contend,” Allen said. “We’ve learned how to put away wins – something we couldn’t do last year. The James Madison tournament should be a good measurement bar for us. It should provide a good opportunity to jump ahead of some of the teams ranked ahead of us.”