The No. 3 Emory golf team captured its first win since 2011 at the Discover DeKalb Spring Invitational on April 8 and 9 at the par-70 Smoke Rise Country Club in Stone Mountain, Ga.
The Eagles capped off a spectacular final round to propel the team to victory by reaching a season-low mark of 278 in the second round (two-under par), finishing at 564 (286-278). No. 2 Huntingdon College (Ala.) placed second with a score of 570 (285-285), while Emory’s B team followed with 576 (286-290). No. 1 Methodist University (N.C.) (294-293) and No. 21 Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.) (298-293) closed out the rest of the top five.
Head Coach John Sjoberg praised the team’s effort after Emory notched its first win out of 15 teams in the 36-hole tournament since 2011.
“We played really, really well [on Sunday] to close the deal, which was fantastic to watch,” Sjoberg said.
Junior Stefano Butti inspired the Eagles’ victory during Sunday’s final round when he tied the school record for a low round of 66. It was a big turnaround for him after shooting well above par on the first day. Butti recorded seven birdies in the process, ending with a total score of 150 (84-66), good for 29th out of 83 players.
“I didn’t know [I tied the record] until the day was over,” Butti said. “[I was] trying to recover from the day before. My teammates did come through for me [on the first day].”
Huntingdon senior Jon Colten Stanaland (67-70 — 137) and junior Mark Connelly (71-68 — 139) returned home with the tournament’s two top scores.
Sophomore Matt Organisak finished with Emory’s top score and third place overall at 140 (72-68).
The rest of Emory’s A team included senior Keenan Hickton and junior Connor Yakubov, who both posted scores of 145, tying for 13th overall. Freshman Eric Yiu tied for fourth on the leaderboard with 141 (68-73).
Junior Anthony Muscato led the Eagles’ B team, finishing with a solid 141 (71-70). Senior Sean Murphy compiled a score of 144 (71-70) to clinch 10th place. The other three members of the B team — junior Noah Apter, sophomore Sam Galloway and freshman Davis Hingtgen — finished 16th, 18th and 29th, respectively.
To round out the competition, Emory claimed three players on the all-tournament team with Organisak, Yiu and Muscato alongside Stanaland, Connelly, Methodist sophomore Larkin Gross and LaGrange College (Ga.) freshman Ben Womack.
Sjoberg expressed high hopes for a quick turnaround and similar results in the next tournament.
“Hopefully we’ll carry the same momentum into the next tournament,” Sjoberg said. “Weather looks pretty decent, and the [two] courses up there are phenomenal.”
Regarding the team’s day off after the tournament, Butti added a vote of confidence to the Eagles’ next play.
“Not much time to prepare as for before,” Butti said. “It’s [still] business as usual.”
The Eagles will play next on April 13 and 14 at the Kravetz Invitational in Rochester, N.Y.