Golf struggles at James Madison Invitational

Without two of its top four players last weekend, the GW golf team struggled at the James Madison Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va., and finished last out of 17 teams. The team played without senior Darren Ressler, who fell ill the day before the competition, and junior Tim Derdenger, who is recovering from a summer shoulder injury.

It hurt that we were missing two of our top four from last year, coach Scott Allen said.

The Colonials competed against mostly the same teams they faced in the United States Naval Academy’s Fall Invitational Sept. 9-10. The Colonials finished 12th out of 20 teams at the Navy invitational.

Ressler’s illness forced the team’s No. 7 player, Bobby Barnett, to drive to meet the team in Harrisonburg. Barnett, who had never competed at James Madison’s course, shot a 20-over-par 162 (82-80) in the two-round invitational.

GW placed 12th after the first round, but four of GW’s five golfers shot higher scores in the second round, leading to a disappointing 17th-place finish.

Senior Ryan Day, who finished seventh at the Navy invitational, hit the ball well, but had a tough time with his putting, Allen said. Day shot a 14-over par 156 (77-79), two shots better than junior Bryan Derdenger (158, 80-78).

The bright spot of the tournament for the Colonials was the play of junior Thomas Blankvoort, who shot a six-over-par 148 (73-75), tying him for 12th overall among the 90 competitors.

The team looks to get back on track next weekend at the St. Bonaventure-Keenan Classic in Olean, N.Y. The Colonials are the defending champions at the 18-team tournament.

We are very confident that we can contend and defend our title and get back on track next weekend, Allen said.

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