The Raiders were greedy hosts at the Colgate Invitational Golf Tournament, coming out on top of a field that included the defending Patriot League champs, Bucknell. The victory was the first time in two years that the Raiders have won a tournament. Colgate’s A team shot a two round score of 597 over the weekend, placing them three strokes ahead of the runner-up Bisons.
“They really came out and played great golf,” Head Coach Mac Gifford said about the team effort. “At practice, I got the feeling that they were good golfers and this weekend was very exciting. We just had the idea to go out and play golf and for the most part they were very loose players out there who wanted to play well.”
Senior Ricky Hayes was the top individual golfer, doubling as the only man to finish under par for the Invitational. Hayes shot a 140 for the weekend, including a three-under round of 69 on Saturday that was tied for the best round of the tournament.
“Ricky knows this course as well as he knows anything and he could get out of trouble like a magician,” Gifford said about his top golfer. “He knows when to come down for par instead of making a big mistake.”
Colgate had three of their four A team golfers in the Top-11 for individuals, and sophomore David Ake was the tenth-best golfer for the weekend, showing the Raiders’ strength in the B team. The Raiders’ B team is comprised of all rookie golfers. Sophomore Montek Mayal finished tied for fourth overall for the weekend, finishing Sunday with a strong, one-under round of 71and an overall score of 147. Junior Keaton Cross ended Sunday tied for 11th overall, with a two round score of 153 (75-78). The last component of the victory was junior Alex Plunkett, who scored rounds of 83 and 81, for a weekend total of 164. A strong start also briefly placed first-year B teamer Neil Thompson in the top ten on Saturday evening with a round of 74.
“There is definitely a home-field advantage,” Gifford observed. “This is a golf course that the more experienced upperclassmen have played hundreds of times and know very well.”
Of the opponents that Colgate held off over the weekend, there were four Patriot League foes, including usually dominant Bucknell, Lehigh, Holy Cross, and Lafayette. Last year, the only league teams to finish behind the Raiders were Holy Cross and Lafayette, as Colgate finished fifth in the Patriot League for the second straight year. Prior to this weekend, the best finish the Raiders had claimed was fifth out of a field of 16 in the 2005 Colgate Invitational.
The Raiders certainly put on a show and indicated to the rest of the Patriot League that they will be contenders this year. Colgate will get the opportunity to repeat their success this weekend as they travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to tee off at the Bucknell Invitational with a round of 36 holes on Friday followed by 18 on Saturday.
“Bucknell is a rival and the team is excited to go down there and golf,” Gifford remarked about the upcoming tournament.