Albatross Brightens Tough Tourney

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.