Golf

The No. 7-ranked Emory golf team started off the season with a comfortable win at the Rhodes College Fall Classic in Tunica, Miss., Sept. 17-18. Sophomore Matt Organisak paved the way for the team, setting an Emory record in a 54-hole tournament with his three round total of 206.

The Eagles finished first in a field of 19 teams with a total team score of 855, breaking Emory’s team score record for a three-round event. The old record was set last year at the Jekyll Island Collegiate Invitational in Georgia, where the team had a mark of 866.

The Eagles finished seven shots under the No. 1-ranked University of Texas at Tyler, which finished in second with a score of 862. Southwestern University (Texas) placed third with a score of 866, followed by Rhodes College (Tenn.) at 873.

“We played well,” Organisak said. “It was very early in the season and the exact start we need for this season.”

Organisak starred for the team, as he earned joint first place honors alongside Will Hocker of Webster University (Mo.) in a 98-player field. Both shot 10-under par with a score of 206. Organisak also broke a few records on his way to the top of the leader board. His scores for the three rounds were 71-67-68. His second-round score gave him a career best for a round and his final score of 206 is a school record for a 54-hole tournament.

Head Coach Josh Sjoberg praised both the team’s and Organisak’s performance.

“It was brilliant,” Sjoberg said. “All five guys contributed. Everyone played well. [Organisak] played [well] going 10-under leading the way.”

Freshman Eric Yiu finished his first tournament in second place for the Eagles and No. 15 overall. He had a score of one over par at 217. Junior Connor Yakubov finished not far behind, going three over par for a score of 219, which placed him No. 19 overall. Seniors Keenan Hickton and Sean Murphy finished with scores of 221 (No. 27) and 223 (No. 37), respectively.

The Eagles will look to continue their hot start Sept. 24-25 at the NCAA DIII Fall Preview at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.

“[We just want to] continue to get better and gain confidence from it by staying with the process of doing what we do every day,” Sjoberg said. “We got good players that can keep playing at a high level.”

With another tournament this upcoming weekend, the team appears ready and determined to take on the challenge.  

Freshman golfer Sam Galloway scored his first career albatross — two strokes on a par five — at the Huntingdon Intercollegiate (Ala.) March 28 and 29, highlighting an up-and-down weekend that culminated in a fifth place finish out of the tournament’s 15 team field.

Junior golfer Keenan Hickton said that although Huntingdon held a solid hold on first place, Emory sat a mere eight shots out of second after the first round of play. With aspirations for a higher finish, the team’s hopes were high heading into day two.

“We are all a little frustrated with the way we played today, but [if we] pay attention to some decision making and [make] sure we are not giving shots away … we will work from there,” Galloway said. “We can only control what we can control and hope to be able to climb up the leaderboard.”

Unfortunately, despite shooting better on the whole, the puts were not dropping for this Eagles squad in the second and final round. The team shot the same score on day two and maintained their No. 5 rank.

“Finishing fifth isn’t necessarily a disappointment, but it felt like we could have played better,” Head Coach John Sjoberg said. “Huntingdon [College] obviously played great — they made almost 40 birdies and I think we made 13 or 14 for the two days. That’s the difference right there.”

Hickton placed best for the Eagles, tying for No. 13 on the leaderboard. He may not have had an albatross, but his steady play earned him a solid four-over-par score for the two-day tournament.

“[Hickton] bogeyed two of his last four [and still managed] to shoot 73,” Sjoberg said. “He was solid — it was a pretty simple game for him most of the day. He hit it on the fairway, made it on the green.”

Despite Hickton’s leading performance, Galloway’s week did not go unnoticed. He scored his first hole in one March 24 in addition to the three-under-par hole March 27, which he said gave him the confidence to finish strong.

“The highlight of [Monday] was Galloway,” Hickton said. “I have heard of [people scoring an albatross] but it’s pretty darn rare.”

According to Sjoberg, the strength of the top teams in this tournament made the competition important even though it was not as deep a field as the March 17 Jekyll Island Collegiate (Ga.).

With a strong showing at Jekyll and a victory at the UAA tournament, Sjoberg is more than pleased with the team’s performance thus far.

“It was a great month,” Sjoberg said. “We hope to continue to play well and put ourselves in positions to be in contention and that’s the goal every week.”

The Eagles will compete for the final time this season April 8 and 9 at the Emory Spring Invitational in Stone Mountain, Ga.

Kevin Kilgour contributed reporting.

The No. 5-ranked Emory golf team successfully defended their UAA title at the par 72 Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Fla., March 11 and 12.

Match play was best three games out of five. With Emory tied 2-2 with Carnegie Mellon University (Pa.), Emory sophomore Connor Yakubov went into extra holes in the final match to determine which team would prove victorious. Delivering a par in the final hole, Yakubov secured a 3-2 win over Carnegie Mellon and another UAA title for the Eagles.

Yakubov’s finale took center stage, but it required a team effort for the Eagles to capture the title 3-2 over the Tartans.

Freshman Matt Organisak, who also won his match, joined Yakubov on the Championship’s All-Tournament team.

This is the second consecutive title  for the Eagles. Junior Keenan Hickton said that unlike in past years, the team entered the conference championship as the favorite to win the tournament.

“We used to always come from behind and were never expected to win,” Hickton said. “It was exciting to deal with some pressure … and still win the tournament and play well.”

Head Coach Josh Sjoberg noted the hard work that his players put into the game.

“Depth has pushed these guys,” Sjoberg said. “Our play is as competitive as it has ever been. We have really good players and in order to get into that top five position we have to be ready to play every day.”

Next weekend’s competition, Hickton said, will be a “test of patience.”

The tournament will provide Emory with some tough competition, as 16 of the top 25 D-III teams will be in attendance, according to Sjoberg.

“[Our next tournament] will be one of the biggest tournaments of the year,” Hickton said. “It will be a big challenge because a lot of the tournaments we play are two days, this will be a three-day tournament and nationals will be a four-day.”

On March 17, the Eagles entered the Oglethorpe Spring Invitational in Jekyll Island, Fla. They finished the tournament March 19 ranked No. 5 out of 29 teams.

The Emory men’s golf team claimed its first top-three finish of the fall season at the Golfweek Division-III Fall Invitational at Raven Course in Sandestin, Fla., Oct. 9 to 11, finishing third out of 19 teams.

What seemed like a damaging round Monday with the Eagles looking far outside the top three was followed by a tie for the final round’s best score Tuesday. After moving up four spots on the leaderboard, Emory (+19) placed behind University of Texas at Tyler (+2) and Rhodes College (Tenn.) (+16), which finished first and second, respectively.

In a similar manner to Oct. 3 and 4 Oglethorpe Fall Invitational, freshmen Chuck Isgar and Matt Organisak led Emory’s team in the 54-hole tournament. Both players carded a three-round score of one over par, good enough for a tie at fifth overall. Isgar was Emory’s strongest golfer Sunday and Monday, coming into the final round at three under par. Despite a triple bogey on the ninth and a double bogey on the 11th, Isgar salvaged a top-five finish. Organisak improved as the tournament progressed, finishing with a better score each day. His score of two under par Tuesday helped lead the Eagles to their best finish of the season.

Other Emory golfers who contributed to the team’s top-three finish included sophomore Stefano Butti (+14) and juniors Sean Murphy (+9) and Keenan Hickton (+14).

Head Coach John Sjoberg praised the two freshmen golfers’ contributions.

“Matt [Organisak] and Chuck [Isgar] played great,” Sjoberg said. “Chuck really carried us the first two rounds — that was really impressive.”

Isgar relished the opportunity to impact the team’s performance in his second collegiate tournament.

“I was able to bring my game and contribute to a really strong team performance,” Isgar said. “This was a really great way to top off our [Fall 2016 season], and I am proud of how I was able to help lead the team the first two days.”

Emory will be coming off its top two finishes when the team takes on its final Fall 2016 tournament. Sjoberg expressed his optimism about the team and its performance in that upcoming tournament.

“I think we’re right on track,” Sjoberg said. “It’s been a very good fall. The last tournament is a B-team event. We get to have eight different people play, which is great.”

Isgar, who has finished in the top-10 in back-to-back weeks, is looking forward to both the team’s upcoming tournament and the spring season.

“I hope to continue to be a major contributor to this team,” Isgar said. “I saw a lot of positivity the past two weeks. I think it is indicative of what I’m able to do and where my game is at right now.”

The Eagles will cap off the Fall 2016 season at Chick-fil-A Invitational at Stonebridge Golf Course in Rome, Ga., Oct. 17 and 18.

The Emory men’s golf team put together its best performance of the season so far Oct. 3 and 4, finishing fourth out of 18 teams at the Oglethorpe Fall Invitational at Royal Lakes Golf Club in Flowery Branch, Ga.

Emory’s 36-hole team score of three over par was enough to separate the Eagles by 10 strokes from the next best team, Centre College (Ky.). Finishing ahead of Emory were Greensboro College (N.C.) in first, LaGrange College (Ga.) in second and Oglethorpe College (Ga.) in third.

Freshman Matt Organisak, who finished fifth overall, headlined Emory’s improved play. He put together a two-round score of four under par. In only his third collegiate tournament, Organisak put together one of the best 36-hole performances in Emory history.

Head Coach John Sjoberg lauded Organisak’s performance, noting “Matt tied Emory’s best score at Royal Lakes at 140. It was the second best 36-hole score in school history.”

Organisak wasn’t the only Emory freshman to finish within the top 10. In his first collegiate competition, freshman Chuck Isgar carded a score of two under par, which was good enough for seventh overall. Junior Sean Murphy joined teammates Organisak and Isgar in the top 10, ending tied for 10th overall with a score of even par.

Other Emory golfers to compete this week included junior Keenan Hickton (+3), freshman Sam Galloway (+8) and sophomores Anthony Muscato II (+9) and Stefano Butti (+3).

The golf team’s performance during the Oglethorpe Invitational is a major turnaround from the first two tournaments of the Fall 2016 season. Emory began the season with lackluster finishes in back-to-back tournaments. A sixth-place finish to start off the season was followed by a failure to crack the top 10.

In desperate need of a confidence booster, the Eagles found much needed redemption Monday and Tuesday.

Sjoberg highlighted some of the team’s improvements this past weekend.

“It was better quality golf. Especially off the tee, I thought we were very good. We were very good driving the golf ball for most of both rounds, and that was a big key to this golf course.”

Sjoberg predicted that the freshmen’s significant contributions signal a bright future for the golf team.

“Matt [Organisak] was great. It was great to see [Chuck Isgar] play well and finish in the top,” Sjoberg said. “They are going to have a major impact going forward. We have a fairly young team with no seniors. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

Emory’s golf team will compete this weekend at the Golfweek Fall Division-III Invitational at Raven Golf Club in Sandestin Resort, Fla.

After competing last week in Mississippi, the Emory men’s golf team made their way to Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. to play in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-III Fall Preview, their second tournament of the fall season. The Eagles just missed a top-10 finish, tying the University of Texas at Tyler for 11th out of 18 teams.

Huntingdon College (Ala.) finished first, followed by Wittenberg University (Ohio) and Guilford College (N.C.).

Emory started the tournament off strong, ending Sunday in third place overall. Three of the team’s golfers finished even par or better. Junior Keenan Hickton led the team on the day, tying for fourth place with a score of -3.

 

Hickton praised the team’s performance on day one.

 

“We did a lot of good things in the first round. When we played our best, we are as good as Huntington and all the better teams,” he said.

Monday did not go as smoothly as planned. The Eagles faltered, concluding the day with 30 more strokes than the previous day. The front ninewas littered with nine scores of double bogey or worse. The team rebounded slightly on the back nine, but it was insufficient to recover from their rough start to the day.

On Tuesday, the Eagles lost even more ground and fell out of the top 10. While their score improved from Monday, it was not enough for the Eagles to blaze back into the thick of the tournament.

 

Head Coach John Sjoberg noted the discrepancies in the team’s performance over the course of the tournament.

 

“There was a different golf course during rounds two and three,” Sjoberg said. “It was much more difficult. We just didn’t play as well. We weren’t sharp.”

 

Hickton shared Sjoberg’s disappointment with the second round.

 

“[The course]  was a little bit longer and little bit harder,” Hickton said. “It only played two or three shots harder for the rest of the field. We probably played it six shots harder.”

 

In regard to the final round, Hickton expressed more optimism about the team’s performance.

 

“We could have easily shot the same score during the second round. That would’ve helped our finish a lot,” he said.

 

For the second consecutive tournament, Hickton was Emory’s top performer, finishing the tournament tied for 22nd at +9. Despite hitting one of Sunday’s best overall performances, Hickton dropped 12 strokes over the course of Monday and Tuesday. Finishing behind him were his teammates freshman Matt Organisak (+10), junior Sean Murphy (+15), sophomore Anthony Muscato II (+16) and sophomore Connor Yakubov (+17).

 

For upcoming competitions, Sjoberg will seek to use the fall preview to identify players’ weaknesses and strengths.

 

“We’ll have to figure out how to do better. Hopefully we can learn from this experience and continue to get better,” Sjoberg said.

Emory will have a week off before returning to action Monday, Oct. 3, in the Oglethorpe-Royal Lakes Fall Invitational at Royal Lakes Golf and Country Club in Flowery Branch, Ga.

The Emory men’s golf team began their Fall 2016 campaign this past weekend with a sixth place finish at the Rhodes College Invitational at Tunica National Golf Club in Mississippi.

Emory finished near the middle of the pack, tying Berry College (Ga.) for sixth place out of 16 teams. The University of Texas at Tyler finished first, while Rhodes College (Tenn.) and Centre College (Ky.) ended the invitational in second and third place, respectively.

Five golfers represented Emory, with Eagles’  top performer junior Keenan Hickton, tying for ninth overall out of 96 total participants. Hickton put together a two-day score by finishing +1 Sunday and even par Monday for an overall tally of one over par.

“I think I played pretty well tee to green,” Hickton said of his even par round on Monday. “[I] hit a lot of fairways and greens during the tournament,” he added.

Hickton headlined all of Emory’s performances, finishing five strokes ahead of junior Sean Murphy, the second-best scoring golfer on the team, who carded +6 overall. The other three golfers who participated this weekend were sophomore Anthony Muscato (+7), sophomore Connor Yakubov (+10) and freshman Matt Organisak (+10).

Murphy was among the top performers on Sunday, but Monday did not yield the same results. Murphy got himself into trouble early, scratching out a double bogey on the second hole, followed by a triple bogey on the third. He, like many of his teammates, struggled finishing the round as he bogied the final two holes. Head Coach John Sjoberg affirmed that the team struggled in the later rounds on both days.

“[The team could] play the par fives a little bit better,” he said. It was a big downfall. The team didn’t take advantage of several opportunities there.”

Despite some mishaps throughout the invitational, Sjoberg remained optimistic, calling the performance a “solid start” and saying there were many valuable lessons to take from the invitational.  

This year’s team is composed  primarily of underclassmen. With only four juniors and no seniors, Emory looks to build experience for a team that has a lot of potential.

“Our sophomores are very experienced,” Sjoberg said. “They got to play a lot of golf last spring at a really high level. That’s certainly a benefit.”

Hickton shared much of the Sjoberg’s optimism.

“One positive I would take for the team is that we were hitting really well at one point during both of our rounds,” he said. “We didn’t finish nearly as well as we wanted to. We were one shot off the lead in the second round. That shows a lot of the potential we can having going forward.”

The team hopes to unleash that potential next week as they travel to Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla., to play in the NCAA Fall Preview at the Mission Inn Resort.

Freshman Keenan Hickton carefully putts at the ball. Hickton and the Eagles competed at the Wolfpack Spring Open this past weekend, and placed 10th out of 11 teams.  | Courtesy of Emory Athletics
Freshman Keenan Hickton carefully putts at the ball. Hickton and the Eagles competed at the Wolfpack Spring Open this past weekend, and placed 10th out of 11 teams. | Courtesy of Emory Athletics

The Emory golf team finished its regular season at the Wolfpack Spring Open this past Sunday, finishing 10th out of eleven teams, consisting of mainly NCAA Division I competition.

The event consisted of 36 holes, and was played on the 7284-yard, par-71 Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, N.C.

North Carolina State University won the tournament with a total mark of 551. University of Maryland finished second with a total 568 points.

Carolina State junior David Cooke had the strongest performance during the tournament, shooting under par both days with a total mark of 132, or 11 under par.

The tournament was divided into two days with the Eagles shooting a total of 603 over the two days. On the first day, the Eagles’ top-four players shot 301, bringing the average mark to a solid 75.25, or 4.25 over par. On the second day, Emory had a total of 302 with an average total of 75.50.

Senior Alex Wunderlich finished his Emory golf career with a strong performance. On the first day, he shot par, and on the second day he shot three-over-par, bringing his total mark to 145, the strongest on the Emory team.

Sophomore Sam Nichamin shot 74 or three-over-par the first day and 76 or five-over-par the second day, giving him a combined average of 150. Freshman Matthew Csillag shot a 78, seven-over-par the first day and 74, three-over-par, the second day, bringing his total to 152. Freshman Keenan Hickton shot 78 the first day and 79 the second day, bringing his total to 157. Junior Vince Sirianni, after two strong tournaments in a row, shot 82 the first day and 78 the second to bring his total to 160.

With the season ending, Wunderlich reflected on his experience on the team.

“It goes by so fast. When you are a freshman and you have four more years, it feels like its never going to end, but now that it’s over, it feels as if it just flew by,” Wunderlich said. “Some advice that I have for my teammates is just to cherish the time you have with your team. It’s really a unique experience.”

Wunderlich finished the tournament shooting two birdies on the last four holes, a great end to a great career, and one that Head Coach John Sjoberg is proud of.

“My favorite moment of the season actually was at this tournament,” Sjoberg said. “Seeing Alex [Wunderlich] end his career with two birdies was amazing. I’ve seen him grow up over the four years. He’s a great athlete, a great teammate and a hard worker, especially in his studies.”

Junior Vince Sirianni follows through with his swing. Sirianni and the Eagles tied for sixth place at the Emory Spring Invitational at the Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville, Ga.  | Courtesy of Emory Athletics
Junior Vince Sirianni follows through with his swing. Sirianni and the Eagles tied for sixth place at the Emory Spring Invitational at the Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville, Ga. | Courtesy of Emory Athletics

The 2015 Emory Spring Invitational finished this Tuesday, with the Emory men’s golf team tying with Greensboro College (N.C.)  for sixth place, out of 13 teams. The event consisted of 36 holes, which was played at the 7059-yard, par-72 Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville, Ga.

The tournament was divided into two days with the Eagles shooting a total of 615 after the second day. On the first day, the Eagles shot a combined 310 points from its top four players, bringing their average mark to a solid 77.5 or 5.5 over par. On the second day, Emory shot a stronger total of 305, with an average of 76.25.

“We played pretty well,” senior Alex Wunderlich said. “We did a good job of baling each other out, the first day a couple of us played well, while a few of us didn’t, and then the next day, the reverse happened. The problem is, we haven’t been consistent. We have a hard time having two really strong rounds in a row.”

Methodist University (N.C.) won the tournament with a total mark of 592. Berry College (Ga.) finished second with a mark of 601. Methodist junior Jackson Collier tied with Guilford College’s (N.C.) John Grimes for the tournaments strongest performance. Collier shot 72 the first day and 72 the second, finishing par for the tournament while Grimes shot 74 the first day and 70 the second.

Emory Junior Vince Sirianni continued his strong performance, shooting a round under par for the second tournament in a row. In the first round, Sirianni shot a 75, or a respectable three over par, while in the second round he shot a 70, for two under par. On the second day, his total was brought to 145 for the tournament, making him the top Eagle performer and the tournament’s third best performing athlete overall.

“These last couple weeks, I’ve been working to get my swing right,” Sirianni said. “I’ve been feeling more comfortable with it recently. I was playing alright, but in the back nine of the second day, I made some ridiculous length putts. I think one of them was 50 feet or so, that really helped my score.”

Wunderlich rebounded after a poor performance last tournament to finish with a total score of 151 over two rounds, finishing six over par in the first round and one over par in the second. By the end of the tournament, he finished in second place on the Emory squad.

Freshman Keenan Hickton finished third in the Emory lineup. He shot 78 the first round and 81 the second round for a combined mark of 159, or 15 over par. Sophomore Sam Nichamin shot 79 the first day and 82 the second for a total mark of 161, or 17 over par. He finished fourth in the Eagle lineup.

Emory returns to action for its final match from April 18 to 19, when the team will compete at the Wolfpack Spring Invitational in Raleigh, N.C.