Like many Illinois State students, the ISU men’s golf team took a trip down to Florida during Spring Break, however, the Redbirds took the trip ready to put their heads down and get to work. ISU finished in ninth place at the Seminole Intercollegiate in Tallahassee, Fla., earning a team score of 887 (304-289-294).
After the first round of play on March 14, the Redbirds sat in 11th place with a score of 304, which put them two strokes out of the top-10. Sunday’s weather forecast was not hopeful, so the last two rounds were moved to Saturday, March 15. The Redbirds knew that there was room for improvement and their best golf was yet to come.
“Despite our team score, we [had] reason to be optimistic with two rounds to play,” ISU head coach Ray Kralis said. “There is a fine line between our outcome and a solid start. We [were] getting a better feel for the course and its subtleties, and with 36 holes Saturday, we [had] a chance to get some momentum going and move up the leaderboard.”
Consistency was the story for the Redbirds in that first round. Wils Hawn, Parker Freiburg, Jordan Fahel and Josh Edison all ended the day tied for 41st overall in the individual category after each of them shot a 76. Tyler Gentilella ended his first round tied for 67th place with a score of 80. This rounded out their team score at a 304 after the first round.
The Redbirds were nowhere near ready to quit as they headed into the last two rounds. Led by Freiburg, who finished 11th individually by shooting a 70 in the second round and a 69 in the third (76-70-69), the Redbirds were able to move up two spots on the leaderboard.
Gentillella improved during his second day with two par-72 scores (80-72-72), including an eagle late in the third round. Hawn, also with an eagle in the third, finished the day with a 76 in the second round and a 77 in the third, as did Fahel. Both players were tied for 40th place with overall scores of 229. Edison rounded out the Redbirds’ weekend with an overall score of 223, shooting an 81 in the second round and a 76 in the third.
Kralis was delighted to see his team stay focused and come back strong on the second day of play.
“Parker stepped up in both the second and third rounds posting the low 36-hole score, a five-under-par 139, in a very competitive field of 75 players,” Kralis said. Tyler also bounced back in strong fashion posting two even par 72’s, and with Wils’ second round 71, the squad set the right tone for the day with a solid team score of 289 in the morning. The tougher hole locations in the final round resulted in higher scoresacross the board, so our 294 in the afternoon was very respectable as well.
“Overall, I am pleased with how the group responded after a tough opening day at this event, and I feel like we have moved in the right direction in the first half of the spring gaining confidence and momentum for the final stretch leading into the conference championship.”
After putting in some hard work over Spring Break, ISU will have some time to recover and improve before heading to the ASU Red Wolf Classic on April 7-8.