The No. 14-ranked Eagles started their spring tournament season this past weekend, finishing in 4th place at the Callaway Gardens Intercollegiate Tournament.
The 36-hole tournament was played March 2-3 at Mountain View Course. The course is 7,057 yards long (par-72) and located in Pine Mountain, Ga.
Sophomore Alex Wunderlich led the team with a fourth place individual finish, carding a solid 149 (73-76).
“Wunderlich played an exceptional round on Saturday, and as a team we played really well on Sunday to finish out the tournament,” Head Coach John Sjoberg said.
The Eagles, playing less than 90 miles away from Emory’s campus, had to play through the unseasonably cold Atlanta weather.
“Weather was the biggest challenge this weekend,” Wunderlich said. “I just tried to grind one shot at a time and not let the cold get to me too much. Patience was the biggest thing out there.”
Freshman Jonathan Gerrard followed Wunderlich, finishing with a 158, good for a 32nd place finish in a 109 player field. At his first tournament as an Eagle, Gerrard struggled with the first day weather conditions but reclaimed Sunday with a three-over 75.
“Jonathan performed well for us the second day,” junior Johnathan Chen said. “He’ll be coming with us to UAAs and Jekyll Island, and I’m excited to see what he can do for us these next couple weeks.”
After a cold first round with an early tee time, snow flurries and freezing temperatures, the team posted a score of 318, putting them at 12th place of 19 teams.
“I think we all knew that we were better than our first round scores showed, and we all went out the second day ready to fight the weather and the course,” Wunderlich said. “A lot of teams let the cold get to them, but we kept fighting all weekend and that was the main reason we were able to move up so far the second day.”
The Eagles rebounded on day two, moving up eight places on the overall team leaderboards.
The majority of the team posted better scores on Sunday, despite stronger winds and atypical March temperatures.
A second round score of 307, the third lowest team score of the round, led to a final mark of 625 and pulled the Eagles up to fourth place.
“Sunday the wind was up, and the team showed great character and toughness to deal with the adverse conditions out there,” Sjoberg said. “We had a respectable finish, which was great because we needed it.”
Senior David Collura finished third on the team with a score of 82-78 for a 39th place finish. Junior Will Roth shot 161 (83-78), and Chen rounded out the squad’s scores with 162 (80, 82).
Oglethorpe University secured first place with a score of 591, Methodist University (N.C.) took second posting a score of 611, and LaGrange College rounded out third place with a score of 620, just five strokes ahead of Emory.
“This past weekend was a good start to the season, but right now we’re focused on defending our UAA title at Redtail,” Chen said.
The Eagles are set to return to action during spring break.
On March 10 and 11, they will for their third straight win at the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships to be held in Sorrento, Fla.
“The weather will be nicer, and with a tournament under our belts already we have a little momentum going into this weekend,” Wunderlich said. “Our main focus is consistency. If we can make every shot count, I feel that we have just as good as a chance to win UAAs as we did last year.”
â€” By Seanette Ting