BY JOSH KOEBERT
for the Scout
The men’s golf team swung into action this week, kicking off its spring schedule at the Carlton Oaks Invite in San Diego, Calif.
The Braves shot a combined team score of 320 to open play Monday, putting them in eighth place out of the nine-team field.
“These early tournaments are a good way to find out where you stand without really playing around here at all,” coach Jeff Roche said. “I think we only got in about nine holes before we left for the tournament.”
Bradley’s top performer was freshman Earl Gerlach, who shot a team best 77.
Gerlach’s score put him in a tie for 20th place individually after the first round and was only a shot better than sophomore teammate Coby Thompson, who finished in a tie for 22nd with a 78.
Rounding out the team scoring were sophomore Nathan Perry, whose 80 put him in a tie for 33rd, and freshman Chris Niemiec, who’s round of 85 tied for 57th. Junior Zach Wanken tied for 64th with a round of 87, but his score was not added to Bradley’s total.
After the first round of play, the Braves were 21 shots back of first-place host Drake.
Gerlach continued to lead the team in the second round, matching his opening-round 77. His two-round total secured him 18th place, his first career top-20 finish. He was also the only Bradley golfer to shoot in the 70s both rounds.
Thompson was the Braves’ second best performer, finishing in a tie for 31st after shooting an 80 in the second round.
Two more Braves finished in the top-50, Perry in a 43rd place tie with a total of 162, while Niemiec was right behind him at 163, placing him in a tie for 46th.
Wanken shaved six shots off from his first round score, shooting an 81 on day two, putting him in 59th.
Bradley’s team total of 316 for the second round helped the Braves move ahead of Army and secure seventh place, just four shots behind Utah Valley in sixth. Western Illinois shot a 295 in the second round on its way to a first place finish, three shots ahead of Drake.
“Overall, I was pleased with this weekend,” Roche said. “This really gave us a gauge of things we need to work on.”
The team returns to action in two weeks at the Grover Page Classic in Jackson, Tennessee beginning March 2.