Led by Jack Owen (senior, sports administration) and his tournament-winning performance, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania men’s golf team kicked off the fall season with a win at the Dye Intercollegiate, hosted by Urbana University.
The team’s victory was anything but assured, however, as the Crimson Hawks found themselves down by nine strokes to Charleston University after the first day.
“The team as a whole really struggled on day one, and we just couldn’t see to get anything going,” said Brett Geiser (junior, management).
“But even though we were nine shots back going into the final day, we had confidence in our own abilities that we could pull off a comeback.”
And come back they did, as IUP took the event by shooting a 32-over 608, winning by three.
The win marks the fourth consecutive season-opening victory for the team.
Owen was a huge part of that resurgence as he tallied his first career win in dramatic fashion, coming from five strokes back to finish in a tie for first place with teammate Michael Hoare (freshman, marketing), as they both ended Monday’s second round with scores of four-over 148.
The pair moved onto the 17th hole for a playoff to decide first place, where Owen sinked an eagle to emerge victorious over his colleague.
“It was strange being in a playoff with a teammate,” Owen said, “but to me it was just another opponent I wanted to beat.
“To hold my nerve and make a 20-foot eagle putt to win felt great.”
The honors didn’t end there for Owen, either, as the senior was later named the PSAC Men’s Golfer of the Week.
While Hoare could not claim victory in his first ever collegiate tournament, he had nothing but good things to say about his first college tournament.
“Yeah, it was a great experience to play well in my first college event,” Hoare said.
“It was definitely different from high school golf. Everyone is good, so you really have to step your game up to play here and epically [sic] on a really good team like IUP.
“Overall, I thought it was a very solid start to college and look forward to playing again soon.”
It was a good day for a majority of the team, as five Crimson Hawks, including Owen and Hoare, finished in the top 12.
Geiser and Josh Bartley (freshman, business management) tied for ninth overall with a nine-over 153, and Max Kirsch tied for 12th with a 10-over 154.
Tyler Erb (freshman, undeclared business) and Brady Moran (sophomore, safety science) rounded out the list of golfers for IUP, finishing with a 16-over 160 and a 20-over 164, respectively.
With the first tournament a success, the team will look to keep the ball rolling in their favor.
“All in all, it was a great week,” Geiser said, “and the team and I now look forward to heading down to Glade Springs next week and hopefully bringing home another ‘W.’”
The Glade Springs Intercollegiate will take place in Daniels, W.Va., and will tee off on Monday.