The 2015 Wynlakes Intercollegiate finished this Tuesday with the Emory men’s golf team coming in sixth out of 10 teams. The event consisted of 36 holes, which was played on the 6,894-yard, par-72 Wynlakes Golf and Country Club in Montgomery (Ala.).
LaGrange College (Ga.) won the tournament with a mark of 577, with Guilford College (N.C.) finishing second with a mark of 583. LaGrange sophomore Cory Howard finished with the tournament’s strongest performance, shooting 71 the first day and 68 the second, for an outstanding five under par at the competition.
The tournament’s scoring took four scores per team. Emory brought five athletes, able to drop one score. However, on the first day, one athlete, junior Jonathan Gerrard, was injured, forcing the Eagles to use every score they got the first day.
“We had a little bit of a scare with Gerrard,” Head Coach John Sjoberg said. “He hit a rock in front of him and the ball bounced back and hit him in the eye. That’s pretty unusual. He had to get eight stitches.”
Gerrard returned to the competition the second day after he received his stitches.
The tournament was divided into two days with the Eagles shooting a total of 609. On the first day the Eagles shot a combined 313 with an average mark of 78.25. On the second day, Emory shot a much stronger total mark of 296 with its top four performing athletes scoring an average mark of 74.
“We played mediocrely on Monday and bounced back on Tuesday,” Sjoberg said. “It helps when you have two guys break par. Vince [Sirianni] and Keenan [Hickton] had excellent second days.”
Sirianni, a junior, said the team has had an issue of consistency this season.
“We’ve really struggled to have two good rounds in a row this season,” Sirianni said. “Other top teams have been able to do it, but we’ve so far been unable to.”
The second seed on the Eagles’ squad, freshman Keenan Hickton, had the strongest weekend of the team with a combined mark of 149. He began the tournament with a sluggish start, shooting 79, or seven over par. However, he had one of the best second days in the tournament, shooting 70 or two under par.
Third seed sophomore Sam Nichamin was consistent over both days, shooting 75 on the first and 76 on the second for a combined total of 151. Fourth seed Sirianni shot a disappointing 82 the first day, but bounced back to shoot one under par with a 71 the second day for a total of 152.
“I really didn’t play well the first day,” Sirianni said. “On the start of the second round, I wasn’t playing well at the range either. I realized I didn’t have access to as many shots as usual the second day and hit only what I knew I could. It was more of an issue of keeping your ego in check than anything.”
First seed senior Alex Wunderlich shot a 77 the first day and an 82 the second he finished with a total of 159. Fifth seed Gerrard shot 79 on the second day.
With many big matches in front of them, the team still has a lot to work on.
“We’ll practice five to six days a week, two hours every day and we’ll play one of those days,” Sjoberg said. “We’ve been working on strength training, which has been very beneficial to us. We are hitting the ball a little better, and a little farther overall.”
What the team really needs to work on is the short irons and putting, according to Sjoberg.
“We’ve been lacking in those areas,” he said.
The Eagles will continue their season next Monday, April 6, hosting the Emory Spring Invitational at the Barnsely Resort in Adairsville (Ga.).