Golfers dominate down south

Junior Ethan Brue’s strong play helped the Braves win both of their Spring Break Tournaments. photo via Bradley University Marketing
Junior Ethan Brue’s strong play helped the Braves win both of their Spring Break Tournaments.
photo via Bradley University Marketing

The men’s and women’s golf teams both found success over spring break in their respective tournaments, with the men taking first place in the Bradley Spring Break Invitational in Dallas over spring break and the women earning a second place finish.

The men controlled the Invitational from start to finish as they took a 26-shot lead heading into the second day where they shot a 278, good enough for the lowest team round in program history.

Following the opening round dominance, the Braves finished at 18-over par (858) on the tournament, which was also the lowest 54-hole score in school history. Men’s head coach Jeff Roche attributed the achievements to the weather and exceptional play.

“The first day, the temperatures were cool and it was pretty windy, and it kind of played havoc with the other teams while we were able to stay in there,” Roche said. “Then the last day, we just really played solid and such that it created a bigger margin that way.”

The men then competed in the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate on Monday and Tuesday in Springfield, Missouri, where they finished in first again. The Braves trailed Missouri State by two shots heading into the final day when they shot a two-under 282 to win the tournament.

Junior Zach Jewell, who matched the lowest round in school history with a five-under 66, was a big reason the Braves were able to come out victorious.

“He really stayed patient,” Roche said. “He didn’t get ahead of himself. With golf being a four-and-a-half hour long game, as you get going and you get going really well, there’s a lot of time in between shots to start thinking too far ahead. He really just stayed patient and hit each shot as it came.”

The women’s aforementioned second place finish was powered by its second-lowest 54-hole score on the season with a three-round total of 909, which also tied the 10th lowest 54-hole score in program history.

“Dallas is a great spring break destination for us in the sense that the conditions can be pretty similar to the Midwest,” head coach Mary Swanson said. “It was a little cooler and windy … I honestly feel like because of the conditions, the girls know, ‘Hey, we can get this done even in tough conditions.’”

The women’s team also finished second at the Cardinal Challenge in Beaumont, Texas, last weekend. As a team, the Braves shot 909 over the three-day tournament, finishing behind NIU.

Junior Ally Scaccia was a key contributor to the women’s team success last week, as she finished tied for seventh in Dallas and then tied for fourth in Beaumont.

“I think she just really committed to whatever it took to get the ball in the hole,” Swanson said. “She didn’t let either a bad swing or a bad hole or two get in her way. She really was able to recover quickly. I think she just handled adversity well and trusted that her short game could bail her out when she needed it.”

The men’s team travels to Normal to participate in the I-74 Individual Challenge tomorrow while the women’s team is gearing up for the Bradley Spring Invitational next Saturday, April 1, at Weaver Ridge Golf Club in Peoria.