The men’s golf team faced a different kind of challenge in their final tournament of the season early this week: returning to Foggy Bottom.
Hurricane Sandy interfered with plans, cancelling flights and forcing the team to take rental cars home. But the Colonials played their way to a 20th-place finish, out of 26 teams, on the windy golf course at the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic.
They carded a three-day score of 75-over-par 927 at the par-71, 7,701-yard Turtle Point Golf Course, gritting through 25- to 30-mile-per-hour winds in South Carolina – making for a “very tough, tough golf course,” head coach Terry Shaffer said.
“The greens were pretty fast,” Shaffer said. “The wind actually affected the roll of the ball, which was kind of unusual.”
Not only did the ball break the wrong way at times, but the Colonials’ long game took a hit with the wind knocking down many drives before they could sail to their desired locations.
But despite the multiple challenges, Shaffer said he thought the Colonials still played fairly well.
“We struck the ball well, we got to work on our short game a little bit, get things down and get things moved in the position we want,” Shaffer said.
Sophomore Jack Persons has presented the best performance for GW throughout the fall season, and he did not disappoint at the Kiawah Classic, shooting an 11-over 224 throughout the three days of competition to finish in a tie for 28th in a field of over 130 golfers. Persons credited his success in the inclement conditions to his “solid short game,” adding that it helped him play through the challenging drives.
His best round came on Monday, when he carded a second round score of 1-under 70. The standout sophomore finished with back-to-back bogies, but he still led the team and moved himself up to a tie for 14th at the end of the second round, before a 7-over 78 in round three cemented his final rank.
“I wedged that round with a couple of pretty mediocre rounds. I kind of let the wind get to me overall. I know I could have played a lot better, but it’s something that I look forward to in the spring,” Persons said.
The spring season starts in February for the team, and following its five-tournament fall season, the Colonials are looking forward to defending their conference championship.
The fall season didn’t display the sort of dominance fans may have expected from reigning league champions, but Shaffer isn’t discouraged. It gave the team a chance to realize – and correct – its own weaknesses before the A-10 season begins, the head coach said.
Persons agreed, adding that the frustration of the fall gives GW an added edge heading into spring play.
“There were a lot of poor performances, and it’s something to say that we have a chip on our shoulders now and we can go out and play better in the spring and prove that the conference championship wasn’t a fluke,” Persons said.