The Drexel golf team teed off for their first tournament of the season last weekend as the Dragons participated in the Leo Keenan Invitational Sept. 18 and 19, hosted by St. Bonaventure. Drexel started off their schedule with a fourth-place finish in the tournament, held in Olean, N.Y., among the 11 competing schools with a total score of 592. Robert Mathis University took first place with a score of 571.
The Dragons started off strong, as they were in second place after the opening round. They were also in position to claim the top spot as late as the 14th hole but faltered down the stretch. Head coach Mike Dynda thought his team gave a decent showing at the tournament, all things considered.
“It was our first event, a lot of the guys just got to campus, we didn’t practice much, just qualified,” he said. “I was happy with our position after [the] first round, not satisfied after [the] second.”
Drexel certainly had some good things to take away from its first showing this season. The strong start to the tournament was an encouraging sign, showing their potential. The play by freshmen Andrew Feldman and Jamie Parsons was just as encouraging.
Feldman had a phenomenal first event as a Dragon, earning a score of “A+” from his coach.
“I walked with Andrew the first few holes and watched him chip in for birdie-three on his first hole ever,” Dynda said. “Good omen? I sure hope so.”
It was at least a good omen for the remainder of the two-day tournament. Feldman finished with a score of 145, taking ninth place overall, individually. After day one, he was tied for second with an opening round score of 70, a big reason behind Drexel’s strong start.
Feldman and Drexel will look to build off of those encouraging trends from their first event in their next event this upcoming week when they participate in the Hartford Hawks Invitational. The Dragons will again head north to the tournament, held in South Kent, Conn. Sept. 26 and 27. In recent history, Drexel has struggled in this tournament, so they will really look to keep the positives from St. Bonaventure going. Last season, they finished 11 out of 16 competing teams at Hartford.
Feldman believes the success out of the gate at St. Bonaventure can lead to success next week.
“College tournaments are a different kind of pressure, and the fact that I was able to overcome that early makes it easier to go into more tournaments like Hartford next weekend,” he said.
If any Dragon performs well, it could boost the team up. One thing Feldman noticed right away in his first collegiate event was the support the team has for one another and their team spirit. In the final holes of a close round, that is something that could certainly play a huge factor in finishing first or falling behind.
“That is something that will set our team apart from others,” he explains.
The Dragons also have a lot of room for improvement. Dynda expects those improvements to take place before the Invitational. One form of improvement that will likely take place is the play of junior James Braunsberg. The Plymouth Meeting, Pa. native, who had a very strong finish to the spring 2011 season, shot a 153 at St. Bonaventure. His success from the first two years makes a bounce-back performance very likely.
“This is a strong team that will only get stronger and stronger over the season,” Dynda said.
Look for some of those strides at gaining strength to take place next week. This will be their final tournament before the Big Five Invitational, which Dynda said will stick out as the event that they will look to peak. This tournament next week will determine a great deal for our Dragons.