After a five-month hiatus, Indiana University of Pennsylvania men’s golf kicked off the spring season this past weekend with a fourth-place finish among 16 teams at the St. James Plantation Invitational in Southport, N.C.
The Crimson Hawks finished with a total score of 921 at the two-day, three-round competition, which was just five strokes off from a three-way tie for second place with California University of Pennsylvania and St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Adelphi University claimed first place with a score of 900.
Individually, Zack Kempa (senior, marketing) tied for second place with Thibaut Carmignano of the University of Charleston with a score of 221, which made them both 10 strokes off tournament winner Louis Kelly of Adelphi.
“I was disappointed with my start in the event,” Kempa said. “But again it was the first event, and I was happy with how I ended the event and lots of positives to take from the week.”
Following Kempa, Kenneth Sames (sophomore, business) finished second best for IUP, placing in a tie for 11th with a score of 13-over 229.
Jack Owen (junior, sports administration) was the next Crimson Hawk down the board, placing in a tie for 28th with a 17-over 233.
Following Owen was Max Kirsch (freshman, biology/pre-med), who finished in a tie for 43rd with a 23-over 239.
Finally, Brady Moran (freshman, safety science) finished with a score of 33-over 249.
Brett Geiser (sophomore, management) competed in two out of the three rounds and posted a 166.
A few golfers said the long break affected performances.
“It was a long winter,” Kempa said. “Felt great to be back out on the grass, myself and the team had some rust. The first went is always tough, getting used to being back in the tournament mode.”
To get the “old winter rust off,” the team spent the entire duration of spring break down in North Carolina, according to Geiser.
Despite that, Kirsch said his own performance, as well as the team’s, was lacking.
“We didn’t perform to our best abilities,” he said. “I left a lot of shots out there and so did the team.”
Despite the slow start, the team remains in high spirits.
“I don’t think this was the start we were looking for, but we got lots of hard work in down there, and eventually all that work will pay off,” Kempa said. “It’s a process.”
Geiser remarked that the invitational was a good building block to start off the season and get the team back into competitive form.
The team will have multiple opportunities to get their games up to top form in the near future, as the Crimson Hawks will compete in a tournament during each of the next three weekends, starting with the Whiting-Turner Towson Invitational.
The tournament will take place in Grasonville, Md., and run from March 31 to April 1.