By Sean Begin
The Central Connecticut men’s golf team improved every round to finish in fifth place at the UConn Connecticut Cup last week at the Ellington Ridge Country Club.
“Getting better every day is important,” said Coach Kevin Giancola adding, “I’m a little disappointed we didn’t beat Bryant. UConn, Hartford and Rhode Island are big programs, but then it should have been us, and we finished fifth.”
Central finished two strokes behind conference foe Bryant University, with the Universities of Connecticut, Hartford and Rhode Island coming in first, second, and third, respectively.
The Blue Devils finished the first round tied for ninth place with Siena College after shooting 309 as a team. After a second round 300, Central had moved up to seventh out of 14 schools.
Despite struggling the first two days, senior Matt DeJohn led Central with a third round score of 71, pacing the Blue Devils to a 295 team score, enough to move them into fifth place.
Junior Monte Mullen followed a strong showing at the previous tournament at Yale by shooting a team high 223 three round score, good for a tie for 12th place overall. Sophomore Connor Murphy finished three strokes behind Mullen, tied for 16th overall, a performance Giancola called “better than usual” for the second year golfer.
According to Giancola, the Blue Devils have had difficulty stringing together three consecutive rounds of solid play.
“It seems every tournament we go to there’s always one round where we don’t play well and then we come back and we play well,” he said. “If we can just get little more consistent and have a little more positive attitude, it would really help us.”
Giancola has brought in his first recruiting class this season, starting two or three freshmen every tournament. The inexperience of playing on the college level has shown through in the mental side of their game.
“It goes back to decision making and having a positive attitude. I think what they do is they carry over their mistakes and it leads to bad shots,” said Giancola adding, “We work really hard on that from a mental perspective.”
Giancola attributes his team’s youth to some of the bad mistakes made during the tournament at UConn.
“The course played very difficult,” he said. “The greens were very firm so you had to play certain shots and you couldn’t hit certain shots. A couple of times they definitely made the wrong decision.”
Despite the mistakes, Giancola knows the younger members of the team are adjusting to playing collegiate golf and the experience of this semester will help them in the spring and at the NEC championships.
“I’m looking forward to a greater spring. I think the freshmen are getting good experience and becoming comfortable with the collegiate life. I was real proud of them though because they did get better every day.”
He added: “I think conference wise we’re going to be very, very competitive this year and that’s exciting with so many freshmen on my team.”
The team finishes off play this semester next week in Brewster Ma., with the NEIGA Championships on Oct. 27 and 28.