The Drexel University men’s golf team wasn’t able to capture a single first place finish through the entire 2014-15 season. That was a minor disappointment for a team that finished second once and third three times. Sometimes, a couple of months can make a huge difference.
Last week, led by senior Chris Crawford, the Dragons captured victory in coming from behind fashion in the field of ten teams at the Leo Keenan Invitational.
On Sept. 25 and 26, the Dragons stayed in New York and competed in the Tuxedo Autumn Invitational at Columbia University, capturing yet another first place finish. This is the first time in the history of the program that the team started the season with two straight tournament victories.
Trailing by a one shot margin after the first round, the Dragons once again required a comeback to pull out the win, although not nearly as significant as their seven-stroke comeback at Leo Keenan.
After his one-under-par first day, Chris Crawford had a so-so second round, carding a 74 and finishing his tournament at two-over-par, good for third overall individually.
In the final round, sophomore Adam Mistretta had the biggest impact on the team, as he wrapped his round shooting even-par with a 71. Junior Yoseph Dance also had a great day, finishing with a 72 and continuing his strong beginning of the season.
There’s an old saying that says that you can only be as strong as your “weakest” link.
With those strong performances, the Dragons put themselves in a position to pull out a victory, but it was their fifth golfer that made all the difference. Because Drexel was tied with Columbia after 54 holes, a tiebreaker was instituted. The tiebreaker comes down to which team has a better score from the team’s fifth man. In the Dragons’ case, this was sophomore Aaron Fricke, who shot a 225 overall but had the deciding round to give the Dragons the win.
In terms of individual performances, the Dragons also performed well this weekend, they placed three players –Crawford, Dance and freshman Mike Cook—in the top ten. Cook, in particular, was very impressive in the tournament, just the second of his collegiate career, shooting a 217 and finishing fifth overall. With young talent like Cook leading the next crop of Drexel golfers, it’s likely they’ll continue to succeed even after losing Chris Crawford next season.
The Tuxedo Autumn Invitational victory is mostly a testament to the incredible depth this Dragons team has, as they pulled out strong performances from all five golfers to usurp the hosts in the tournament.
Now that the Dragons seem to have figured out how to pull out victories in close tournaments, the sky is truly the limit. They’ve got Crawford in his prime and the supporting cast is as strong as at any point in his illustrious career with the team and it’s unlikely that the Dragons are done winning just yet.
The team will travel to North Carolina Oct. 5 and 6 to compete in the North Carolina State Individual looking to continue their winning ways.