Golf swings into first place at home invitational

Senior golfer Grant Galvin putts the ball into the hole Tuesday at the SIUE Derek Dolenc Invitational. Gavin tied for No. 22 overall with 217 points.

Golf placed first overall at the SIUE Derek Dolenc Invitational Monday and Tuesday, wrapping up with an overall score of 842 at Gateway National Golf Links in Madison, Illinois. The team was able to lower its score to 10 under par for the two-day, three-round invitational. 

“The guys played exceptional today — shot eight under par for the [third] round and took our three-shot lead and expanded it. [I’m] really proud of them,” Head Coach Derrick Brown said. 

Senior Kyle Slattery saw continued success, placing first overall for the Cougars with scores of 71, 65 and 67, rounding out with a final total of 203 for 10 under par on the 71-par course. 

The score is the third lowest in SIUE history for a 54-hole course, and Tuesday marked the second consecutive time Slattery has finished first overall after the EKU Intercollegiate Sept. 15-16. 

For the achievement, Slattery was named Ohio Valley Conference Golfer of the Week for the second week in a row. 

Slattery said it was harder to be in the lead by a few points than to be trailing behind the lead. 

“It’s all about finding the balance between attacking the flags and playing conservative. Today I kind of did a little bit of both. I relied on my ball-striking a lot, laid back on a couple holes just to keep it in play,” Slattery said.

Coming in second for the Cougars were freshman Brooks Jungbluth and junior Albert Nilsson, who both hit a 214 and tied for No. 11 overall. Jungbluth was pleased by his individual performance and said his strong performance in the third round helped lower his score.

“My last two holes I went birdie, birdie. I was cutting even all throughout the day, kind of back and forth and then was able to make some nice putts to put me under, which was nice,” Jungbluth said. 

Brown said there weren’t any expectations that the team would play better on their home course. 

“We go into every tournament with the same mentality. We all want to play the best that we can, but obviously with home-course knowledge, you should know a little bit better than the other teams where to hit [the ball] and feel a little bit more comfortable,” Brown said. 

The tournament was played on the Cougars’ regular practice course, stretching 54 holes and  7,092 yards. 

“We went in with the mentality that we were definitely going to win, that we wanted to defend our home course, obviously. We’ve played it enough, we’ve seen it, we’ve had multiple rounds of qualifiers already throughout the season, so I think we all felt comfortable on it. It was just a matter of executing, which we did,” Jungbluth said. 

Rounding out the team’s lineup for the event was senior Conor Dore, who tied for No. 19 with an overall score of 216, and senior Grant Gavin, who tied for No. 22 with a final score of 217. Senior Will Starkey and junior Parker McEachern played as individuals for SIUE, tying for No. 41 and No. 89 respectively. 

Teams from Omaha, Iowa Western Community College, UT Martin and Bradley finished off the top five Tuesday. 

The Cougars travel to Valentine, Nebraska, for the Jackrabbit invitational, hosted by South Dakota State on Sunday. 

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