Early Results Provide Confidence for Men’s Golf

After wrapping up their first two tournaments of the season, Colgate Men’s Golf is already returning to the form of last year’s historic season. 

‘Gate returned its entire lineup from last year’s campaign that saw program-record lows in season-single scoring average, birdies, rounds above par and 18-hole, 36-hole and 52-hole team totals. Furthermore, head coach Keith Tyburksi returns after achieving his first Patriot League Coach of the Year award, becoming Colgate’s first coach to earn the honor since 2005. 

The Raiders kicked off their season on Sept. 3, hosting the annual two-day Alex Lagowitz Memorial at Seven Oaks Golf Club. Tyburski expressed his excitement about the opening event.

“Last season was a great year for us, and we are eager to get back to work. We had some great team and individual performances which have helped raise the bar for our team. We have a very experienced group capable of competing at any level. Our schedule this year provides a great opportunity to tee it up against some of the best programs in the country.”

Led by senior Akhil Giri and sophomores Robbie Herzig and Wyatt Petersen, who all tied for 27th place shooting four-over-par, Colgate finished seventh among the 14-team field. Notably, Colgate finished second among the four Patriot League teams in the tournament, only behind Lafayette. Junior Michael Hanratty and senior Mark Gertsen also tied for 42nd place at +7 overall. Gertsen shared his thoughts about the start of the season.

“What I really like about the team this year is that it’s really competitive from top to bottom. I feel like more so than any other year I’ve been on this team, every single member of the team is really capable of getting into the lineup and producing good scores. So it produces a really good environment of competition and everybody is inspired to get out there and contribute. We have always had really good team chemistry in practice – we’ve got a lot of good personalities on the team, so that’s always been there. We have always gotten along really well, but I think this year especially everybody is pushing each other to be the best versions of themselves on the golf course. I think that has been really great for us and we’ll continue to see the benefits.”

The team carried that competitive spirit into the opening day of the Doc Gimmler Invitational at Bethpage State Park this past weekend, where they fired a program-record 275 in the second round – five strokes better than their previous program-record of 280. The Raiders ended the weekend with an 11th place finish, headlined by Mark Gertsen’s career best 66 (-4) on Saturday. The senior finished in 22nd place among the individual field with a 208 composite (-2), with Hanratty (-1) and junior Dugan McCabe (+1) also adding impressive performances. Gertsen attributed his exciting weekend to the positive vibes around the team.

“Being a senior on the team and in a leadership position as captain is really a privilege and a treat. When I was an underclassmen, I always had really good captains to look up to and they made the golf team not only a really good place to play golf and improve my skills, but they also helped foster a positive, cheerful team environment. My goal as a senior now is to continue that environment, and try to do my best to make this season as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. We all play our best when we know that we’ve got good guys around us that are supporting us. It is definitely a treat to be in this position, and I’m really looking forward to this season.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the fall season, Colgate has three remaining tournaments on the schedule. Then, the team will pick back up in the spring. Next on the agenda is the Husky Invitational in Bremerton, Washington, which begins on Monday, Sept. 19. Junior Carson Duffy notes the team’s excitement heading into the rest of the schedule. 

“I feel very strongly about the future of the Colgate golf team. We have a great dynamic between young talent and experienced leaders on our team, and we feel confident about maintaining our strong play from last year.” 

Gertsen also added about the team’s forward momentum.

“I think going forward we’re just going to continue to trend up and the numbers are going to continue to improve. I’m happy with how we’ve started, but we definitely have a lot of work to do. We’re going to use this friendly but competitive spirit we have to push each other to ultimately achieve that goal of winning the Patriot League this year.”