Golf team finishes fifth in season opener

The Carnegie Mellon golf team opened its fall season September 24 at the Griffin Motors Invitational, with the second round of golf ending the next day. The invitational was held by Allegheny College. The men finished the invitational in fifth place out of six teams with a team score of 614. The Allegheny Gators came out on top with a score of 586.

Windy and wet conditions marked the first round. The Tartans were led by junior Howard Smith, who shot a 75. Sophomore Joshua Chen followed closely, carding a 77. Sophomore Alex Timmons and first-year Christopher Lee both turned in scores of 79. Junior Blake Darby finished up Tartan scoring with 80 strokes.

The Tartan team score of 310 strokes put them into fourth place going into the second day of the invitational. The Tartans led the Allegheny Blue Team by two strokes and Westminster College by 11 strokes.

On the second day, the Tartans teed off at 9 a.m. to drier and milder conditions. Better conditions translated into better scores as the team shot a combined 304, six strokes better than the previous day.

Most notably, Darby carded a 73, which was one over par and seven strokes better than his first-day performance. Darby finished the tournament in second place for the Tartans and 10th place overall, tied with Steve Killa from Saint Vincent College.

“The conditions were better in terms of the wind and temperature on day two,” head coach Rich Erdelyi said. “Darby putted better on day two and actually could have been under par except for an out of bounds.”

Smith again led the Tartans, turning in a 77 on the second day for 152 total points. He finished the invitational in eighth place overall, tied with John Bougher of the Allegheny Blue Team.

Timmons recorded a 76, three strokes better than his first round. He finished third for the team and 17th overall tied with Christian Goetz of Allegheny. Chen and Lee finished tied for 22nd place overall with a two-day total of 157.

The Tartans were unable to hold off Allegheny’s Blue Team, which finished two strokes ahead of the Tartans — dropping the Tartans to fifth place overall. Competition was close, though — only 13 strokes separated second-place Indiana University of Pennsylvania (601) from the fifth-place Tartans (614). “The competition was good, and we were very competitive with all the teams,” Erdelyi said.

While the Carnegie Mellon golf team’s primary season is in the spring, fall tournaments are important for them. “The spring season is most important. Doing well in the fall, however, helps your regional and national rankings,” Erdelyi said. “We had a great season last year and just missed nationals. We did gain a lot of respect which will hopefully carry over this year.”

The Tartans are back in action today at the Westminster Invitational. The team is looking for a win this week. “We won the Westminster Invitational last fall and feel we can do it again,” Erdelyi said. “There will be three Division II schools there, so the competition will be good.”