The SIUE golf team placed No. 13 out of 16 teams at their season opener at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this weekend after three rounds of play.
The team was able to improve its score from the prior day on Saturday and Sunday for a total score of 888 for the weekend. The team left the invitational with 298 points Friday, 296 Saturday and 294 Sunday. Golf Head Coach Derrick Brown said although the team improved every day, the team didn’t improve as much as they would have liked.
“Honestly, we hit the ball pretty well, we just struggled around the greens. Just reading putts around the mountains is a challenge, not really something that we’re used to,” Brown said.
The invitational was played on an 18 hole course with a par of 72. The Cougars wrapped Sunday with total of 24 over par for the weekend.
Freshman Brooks Jungbluth led the Cougars all weekend, finishing Saturday at No. 22 after two rounds but falling to tie for No. 30 Sunday. This weekend marked Jungbluth’s first collegiate golf appearance.
“[Jungbluth] played really well in the qualifying leading up to his first event. You know, he’s just kind of not missed any strides, and he played really solid this whole week,” Brown said.
Jungbluth, who shot a 219 for the weekend, was positive about his individual performance, and mentioned the team as a whole can still improve moving forward.
“It was good to put up three solid scores each day. I think overall, the whole team, we were a little disappointed with the finish, but individually it was nice to place well three days in a row on a tricky course,” Jungbluth said.
Brown and Jungbluth both cited the course’s location on a mountain as a challenge for the team.
“It’s definitely a different kind of mentality you take toward putting especially, with the mountain effect, you know, everything breaks away from the mountain so you’re constantly having to think about the speed and the line a lot more than you would at home,” Jungbluth said.
Senior Conor Dore put up the team’s second-best score and shot 221, tying for No. 41. Seniors Grant Gavin and Kyle Slattery tied for No. 56, and freshman Presley Mackelburg tied for No. 88 out of 91 golfers.
Slattery said his performance was not his best, but was optimistic about the team improving their play for the next weekend.
“[My performance was] not great, but we definitely got a lot to build on and we got a couple days to prepare for Eastern Kentucky, Thursday, Friday, I think we’ll be ready for Eastern Kentucky,” Slattery said.
Colorado placed first at the tournament overall, finishing round three at nine under par for the weekend.
Brown said the team knew the competition would be a challenge for SIUE but added that the experience will help them grow for the next tournament.
“So we knew it was going to be a challenge. But that’s why I schedule these events; I want them to be a challenge. We want to see where we’re at in the fall, and seeing really good competition is a great way to learn fast,” Brown said.
The Cougars return to the road Sept. 15-16 for the Eastern Kentucky University Intercollegiate in Richmond, Kentucky.