Though the Drexel University golf team has seen its season come to an end, the team is still reaping the rewards for their performances throughout the season. Chief among them is junior Connor Schmidt, who was recognized as a Second Team All-Colonial Athletic Association standout. This is the first time Schmidt was given the honor, but the upperclassman has been putting up terrific numbers on the golf course for all three years of his collegiate career.
Schmidt began the 2018-2019 campaign for Drexel at the prestigious Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational. The season opener was hosted by Colgate University, and saw 17 teams take to the green. Schmidt actually had a relatively quiet performance over the course of two days compared to his teammates, coming in third out of the competing Dragons. Schmidt shot 222 across the entirety of the tournament, getting a 72 on the final day. His tally assisted in placing Drexel second out of all teams competing.
The turning point for Schmidt came at the Hartford Hawk Invitational, whereupon he secured a 71 in the final stages, as well as the highest individual score for Drexel. His score pushed Drexel to fifth place out of 20 teams. It was even more impressive that Schmidt’s scores came under poor conditions, as rain threatened to end the tournament prematurely twice.
Schmidt’s efforts at Hartford garnered him the first of many accolades throughout the season, as the CAA named him their Player of the Week in early March. This run of success would carry over into the Quechee Collegiate Club Challenge, where Schmidt tied for first place while guiding Drexel to a top-four finish.
Drexel’s return to the green came Oct. 15, 2018, when the Dragons made the journey to Elon, North Carolina, for the Elon University Phoenix Invitational. Though Drexel didn’t perform at their usually high standard, Schmidt’s consistency made its appearance yet again, as the junior walked away with a one-under par over 54 holes, first out of any other Drexel golfer. Schmidt came in 14th out of all individuals, while Drexel finished 11th out of 16 teams.
Another great team effort from Drexel was showcased at the OBX Intercollegiate Invitational, in which the Dragons secured a third place among the 18 teams who competed. This was the best ever finish at the tournament for Drexel in program history. Schmidt once again managed a one-under par on the final day of the competition en route to a six-under-par 207 across all rounds. Schmidt also took fourth place among individuals, propelled by four birdies and three rounds shot under par, continuing his breakout season saga.
Despite the traction Schmidt had been picking up over the course of the season, neither his coaches nor teammates could have predicted what happened at the Lonnie Barton Invitational in Daytona Beach, Florida. The sunny weather matched Schmidt’s game, as the junior won first place for the time first in his career. Schmidt led 132 other tournament participants, with his three under par 69 on the last day putting his final score at a three-under-par 141. Supported by Schmidt’s sure hand, Drexel was able to secure a fifth place finish out of the 20 competing teams present.
Next up for Drexel was the Seattle University Redhawk Invitational, where Schmidt saw his surge of wins slow down a bit. The junior finished second on the team behind sophomore Stephen Cerbara, though it was by a margin of a single point. Schmidt managed a par or better scoring across all rounds as Drexel finished fourth overall in the tournament.
As the season came down to its closing stages, Schmidt showed he wasn’t done impressing yet. Going into the Villanova Wildcat Invitational, Drexel was seeking to defend the tournament title they won a year ago, and Schmidt was happy to lead them to it. The junior won his second ever first place medal at the collegiate invitational as Drexel also topped the 20 team field.
The CAA golf championships proved to the rest of the league why Schmidt was being talked about all season the way he was. Schmidt fought his way into the top five individual placements with a 217 card, only falling out of the title race after suffering a late triple bogey. Schmidt shot 66 on the second day of the tournament, the best ever round for a Drexel golfer at the CAA’s in team history. To cap off his historic run, Schmidt was awarded his third consecutive CAA Commissioner’s Award for academic achievement.