SAVANNAH, Ga. (October 31, 2017) – The North Carolina A&T men’s golf team can take solace in the path the women’s golf program has taken. The men finished the 2017 SSU Tiger Fall Invitational hosted by Savannah State at the par 72, 6,512-yard golf course at Crosswinds Golf Club in sixth place.
The Aggies followed the same pattern they have all season. They had good showings in the first and second rounds before struggling in the third. The Aggies were tied for fourth after the first 36 holes of the tournament on Monday by posting a 312 in the first round and a 314 in the second. But on Tuesday the Aggies stroke count increased tremendously as they shot 329 to finish in sixth place with a 955.
Augusta dominated the tournament by shooting 13-under over 54 holes to win the event by 59 strokes over Savannah State. Florida A&M (plus-56), North Carolina Central (plus-60) and Hampton (plus-87) rounded out the top-5.
“The guys are building. I am very comfortable with where the guys are right now,” said N.C. A&T coach Richard Watkins. “This time of the year, the guys are really where the women were last year in their first year. We are getting better. One of the things I am kind of disappointed in is that we haven’t closed out a tournament yet. Every one of our final rounds have been the worst round of our event.”
Watkins sees the third-round declines as mental. After shooting 21-over in the second of the Hampton University Golf Invitational in late September, the Aggies shot 38-over in the third round. The Aggies shot 21-over in Round 1 of the Maryland Eastern Shore Collegiate Challenge in mid-October before shooting a 20-over in the second round, but were 34-over in the third. Even though there was not third-round play at the Trojan Fall Classic, the Aggies did see their stroke count increase by seven from the first to the second round.
“Winning, competing and being successful is a habit,” said Watkins. “It has to be something you are comfortable with doing. It’s virtually impossible for a first-year team to be comfortable winning together because they have never done it. We just have to learn how to be comfortable with sustaining some of that momentum we put together in the first couple of rounds. They are disappointed right now, but disappointment is inevitable. Discouragement is a choice. We have to get back to work because we can’t afford to get discouraged.”
Luis Acevedo led the Aggies once again, but he finished outside the top-10 for the first time this season. Acevedo shot an even round 72 in the first round but shot 76 in the second round and 80 in the third to finish the invite in 16th place at 12-over. Tuesday marked only the second time in 11 rounds that Acevedo failed to shoot in the 70’s as an Aggie. Junior Cody Lissner shot 82 in third round to finish tied for 18th at 18-over. Cameron Bryant shot 83 in all three rounds and Edward Trent and Casey Lindo also participated on Tuesday.
Acevedo led the tournament with 38 pars, while Lissner led the Aggies by holing five birdies. Lissner also eagled a par 5. The SSU invite was the final tournament of the fall semester for the Aggies. Like the women last season, the men hope to gain momentum in the spring. N.C. A&T will not compete again until March when they travel to Daytona Beach, Fla., to participate in the Bethune-Cookman University Wildcat Invitational, March 1-2.