The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Men’s Golf Remains Optimistic After a Strong Fall Season

Colgate Athletics / Olivia Hokanson

The Colgate University men’s golf team has their sights set on this year’s Patriot League title. The team has been on the up-and-up for the past three years, going from a seventh-place finish in the 2020-21 championships to a fourth-place finish the year after and then, last year, finishing in a close second by a margin of just six strokes.

The team put in a particularly strong showing this fall, coming in third at the Cornell Invitational back in September and winning the Bucknell Invitational in October, finishing first out of 19 other teams. It was a promising way to round out the last tournament of their fall season and it set the tone for what might be possible for the Raiders as the spring season starts in just under two weeks.

Junior Kevin Hollomon commented on the road ahead, speaking on the team’s goals and on their preparation process during the winter months. 

“The obvious [goal] is taking home the [Patriot League] title. I think we feel like we’ve got the talent and depth to do it this year. We’ve got a new indoor facility with a putting [and] chipping green and trackman, so we practice up there for now, where we can play simulated courses and do whatever putting drills we need to do for practice,” Hollomon said. 

Hollomon will be looking to have a big season for himself after his last performance at Bucknell. He ended the tournament four strokes under par, putting up two low rounds of 68 and finished second overall as an individual. His consistency when it comes to putting up good rounds is one of many things that have propelled the Raiders into a threatening position within the Patriot League.

Junior Robbie Herzig also expressed a lot of optimism for the upcoming season. He highlighted the importance of the Raiders win at Bucknell in building momentum for the spring season.

From a team perspective, were feeling as good as we ever have coming out of the off-season, Herzig said. Even though it was a few months ago, were still riding the confidence from the win over 19 teams at Bucknell to end the fall season, so the team is excited to get the ball rolling this spring.

Herzig also spoke about his feelings towards his game at the current moment.

From an individual standpoint, my game feels like its in a good spot because weve been keeping busy in our indoor facility. Our coach has set up a lot of in-team contests [and] drills, so I feel like Ive done a pretty good job of keeping myself in a competitive mindset, Herzig said.

Another factor that differentiates this year’s Raiders team from the competition is their ability to drive the ball. Collegiate golf is seeing a similar trend to the pros in the sense that the game is rewarding players who can get more distance off the tee than the rest of the field. Hollomon commented on that as one of the team’s particular strengths, and also talked about the importance of combining that impressive distance with a sound tactical approach on the course.  

“I think we’re decently long,” Hollomon said. “Something that we’re still working on — but I think we’ll be able to take pride in this spring — is strategy and managing the course as well as anyone out there.”

Something else is working in the team’s favor: their coaching. Head Coach JP Kircher only recently stepped into the role in August of 2023, but he has already earned the respect of his players, thanks to his ability to quickly and dynamically identify potential problem areas that arise on-course. 

“I think an outside observer would notice the way [Kircher] is in tune with everything that’s going on on the golf course,” Hollomon said. “He’s not stuck in his routine like a lot of other coaches might be at times. If someone needs him to be with them for a couple of holes and be a confidence-building presence, he’ll notice that right away. Or if there’s a challenging hole that he thinks he can help us make the correct decision on, he’ll sit there and talk us through it.” 

Kircher has plenty of experience when it comes to building up strong golf programs. Prior to Colgate, he was the Head Golf Coach at Division III Piedmont University, where, over his seven-year tenure, he coached the team to three NCAA tournaments, a No. 1 team ranking for the 2021 season and an NCAA Championship runner-up finish in spring of 2023. 

One of the foundations for Colgate’s recent success has come from the strength of their recruiting classes over the past few years. Junior Justin Fedele spoke about the benefits to the team that came from developing alongside each other as underclassmen.

“We had a young core the past few years and I think the experience is starting to finally show. Having put ourselves in many different situations, we’ve been able to learn from and understand what it takes to get those tournament wins,” Fedele said. 

Fedele was another player whose performance helped the Raiders reach the top of the leaderboard at Bucknell. He bounced back from a score of 77 on the penultimate day of the tournament to turn in a phenomenal 67 on the final day. As Hollomon summarized, Fedele’s last round was a microcosm for the team’s ability to rise to the occasion when the lights are brightest.

“That final day at Bucknell showcased our improvements in the mental toughness category,” Hollomon said. “[Fedele] showed up really clutch on the final day with a 67, which all but won us the tournament. We’ve picked each other up more than ever before.”

Fedele added to Hollomon’s sentiments, praising the team’s ability to go face-to-face with adversity and come out on top. 

“Playing with the lead in the final round has been our struggle in many of our close calls, but we finally showed this past fall at Bucknell that we can endure the pressure and fend off any determined team trying to mount a comeback. That experience will be huge for us this spring season,” Fedele said. 

Men’s golf kicks off their spring season on March 11, where they will be making the trip down south to St. Charles, Mo., for the Lindenwood Invitational.

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About the Contributor
Richie Rosen, Assistant Sports Editor
Richie Rosen is a sophomore from Los Angeles, CA concentrating on economics with a minor in political science. He has previously served as a staff writer for the Commentary, Baker's Dozen, and Sports sections. On campus, Richie is involved in the Colgate Investment Club, the Ski Club, and a greek letter organization. 

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