The No. 1 Emory men’s golf team maintained its promising first-place standing at the Golfweek Division III Fall Invitational on Oct. 14-16. They finished first in the tournament with a total score of 10 under 842 for the three rounds of 18-hole play at the Raven Golf Club in Sandestin, Fla.
The Eagles dominated the first round on Oct. 14 with a score of 12-under par 272.
“We started on the back nine [holes] which is probably a little easier,” Head Coach John Sjoberg said. “[Holes] 10 to 12 especially were strong. We took advantage of a couple of the easier holes.”
The team’s solid start in the first round added to the list of strong performances from the Eagles this season.
“We had a pretty good start to the season, so we were pretty confident going into the final tournament of the season,” sophomore Eric Yiu said.
Former teammate Keenan Hickton (18B) helped the team achieve strong scores on the first day of action.
“[Hickton] … was walking with me on the back nine, and he helped me a lot [advising on shots],” Yiu said.
But in the second round on Oct. 15, the Eagles had to navigate some minor mishaps.
“I was feeling pretty good until the last hole where I just hit two shots into the water where I shot a nine on a par four,” Yiu said. “My teammates did a good job to maintain relatively low scores.”
Although the Eagles slipped in the second round by shooting eight-over par 292, they still maintained a six-shot lead going into the third round on Oct. 16. The Eagles finished the final round with a score of six under par 278 and finished the tournament with an overall first-place score of 10 under par 842, a program record for a 64-hole tournament.
“[The victory] just validates the effort [the team] put in this fall,” Sjoberg said. “We’ve averaged under par for the entire season which is crazy good. It’s great to see the guys get rewarded.”
The Eagles finished the tournament nine shots ahead of runner-up Huntingdon College (Ala.) (289-281-281-851) and 14 shots ahead of Southwestern University (Texas) (282-292-282-856). The strong finish came down to the Eagles feeding off of each other’s strong performances throughout the rounds.
“It’s important to have trust in your teammates,” Yiu said. “They pick four out of five [players’] scores to be counted, so you have to know that your teammates are out there for you.”
Freshman Logan Ryan led Emory in the final round with a score of four-under 67 and also over the course of the invitational with a five-under par 208 (67-74-67), the program’s second-best individual mark ever in a three-round tournament. Junior Matt Organisak scored below par for the second time over the three days and finished with a two-under par 69 that left him at three-under 210, good for seventh place in the tournament.
“There’s five really good golfers on our team, and I know the other guys will have my back,” Organisak said. “That allows us to focus on ourselves and stay patient even if things aren’t going well.”
Senior Connor Yakubov and Yiu both shot even par 71 and finished tied for 12th place overall at even-par 213. Junior Sam Galloway finished with a final round of 75 and 221 overall.
After this impressive victory, the Eagles have high hopes for the rest of the season.
“We just have to keep doing the same things that we’ve been doing and working hard and getting better every day,” Organisak said. “We know if we have trust in each other and keep getting better, there’s no one out there that can beat us.
The Eagles will finish the fall portion of their schedule on Oct. 22 and 23 at the Chick-fil-A Collegiate Invitational at the Stonebridge Golf Club in Rome, Ga.