Golf concludes fall season after record-setting performances

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior Jack Porcelli putts a ball during a tournament in the fall of 2015.

In golf’s final tournament of the fall season last week, junior Logan Lowe tallied his second career tournament victory with a program-record 206 total at the South Carolina Camden Collegiate Invitational. Lowe became the seventh player in program history to record multiple wins.

In addition to the win, Lowe is now on a streak of three straight top-10s and two straight top-five finishes.

Lowe’s performance capped off an improved five-tournament fall season for GW. The team scored an average of 292.47 – more than five strokes better than last season’s average of 298.00 – and three out of its eight players set personal records.

Head coach Chuck Scheinost said the improved play has been a theme for the Colonials so far this season and the team plans to carry that momentum into the spring.

GW started its season in September at the Air Force Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the team shot a five-under 283 in the second round of the tournament – the fifth lowest in school history. Senior Jack Porcelli set his career best at the tournament with a 67.

Success continued as Lowe broke his own school record, shooting an eight-under 64 in the second round of the NC State Wolfpack Invitational earlier this month in Raleigh, N.C. His score was good for a sixth-place tie and the Colonials’ first top-10 finish of the season.

“It is rare to get a round that comes to you that easily,” Lowe said. “It was a course that I hadn’t played particularly well on, so to shoot a good round was very important to me.”

Sophomore Adrian Castagnola scored a personal best 65 at the Elon Phoenix Invitational the week of Oct. 16. At the event, GW tied for the second-lowest relative to par in school history, scoring seven-under 277 in the first round of the tournament. The Colonials finished the tournament in third place, setting the school record for low tournament score with a three-day total of 854 (+2).

This season, three Colonials averaged a sub-74 scoring average: Lowe (70.13), redshirt senior Christian Cichan (73.20) and Castagnola (73.50). Last season, Lowe was the only player to cross this threshold, shooting 72.59.

“Everyone’s game looks good right now and I like to say that ‘everyone’s trending,’” Lowe said. “We didn’t play our best at Elon and we are still setting records competing so that is a big confidence boost for everyone.”

The recent success has stood out for a squad that has often struggled more in the fall than the spring, Scheinost said.

“Some sports have falls that aren’t really that important,” he said. “Fall in college golf is just as important because if you can’t get off to a good start, it affects what you will do in the spring.”

Individual summer competitions kept the Colonials in good shape for the fall season. Freshman Clifford Thompson won the Limpopo Open Stroke Play in South Africa and Lowe finished with a tie for third in the stroke-play portion of a U.S. Amateurs event this summer.

Thompson is one of the two freshmen on GW’s roster, along with Los Angeles native Stephen Brown. The six returning players have tried to help ease their first-year teammates transition to collegiate athletics, Lowe said.

“We are one of the closest teams I have seen in my experience in college golf,” he said. “The freshmen immediately get immersed in the family dynamic we have.”

Scheinost said the learning curve of college golf is extensive and involves learning to play on different types of grasses, in different conditions and with less time between tournaments.

With the spring season less than four months away, Scheinost said the Colonials are looking to build off of their fall performances and focus on finding areas of improvement despite their fall achievements.

“We need to make sure we don’t make big mistakes or big numbers,” Scheinost said. “We’ve had chances for top-five finishes at almost every event we’ve played in and we are constantly trying to get better.”

Throughout the fall season, the team rotated a golf bag they refer to as the “Warrior Bag,” which honors a soldier that was injured in combat by featuring a patch of theirs. At the end of the year, Lowe said the team will auction off the bag and donate the proceeds to the Salute Military Golf Association.

During his win in South Carolina, Lowe was carrying the bag with a patch of a soldier who was injured by two IED blasts, he said.

“It was an honor to be able to carry the bag and to win at the same time,” Lowe said.

The Colonials will return to action at the Atlantic 10 Match Play Championship in Miami Feb. 19.

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