The men’s golf team continued its rough start to the season by finishing last at the Zach Johnson Invitational after the final round on Tuesday.
After winning the tournament in their last two appearances, the Braves had an event-high 939 overall-score. Head coach Jeff Roche did not shy away from his team’s struggles following the performance.
“Obviously we need to get better,” Roche said. “[The results] are what they are and we can’t really hide from that.”
The Braves struggled on Monday, as they had to deal with wind gusts reaching 25-30 mph during the first two rounds of the tournament. The team had a much better overall performance during the final day of the tournament.
Redshirt-senior Alex Ciaramitaro shot a team low 15-over-par 228 and was tied for 26th overall at the end of the tournament, missing the top 20 by a single stroke. He shot a respectable four-over par in the final round on Tuesday.
After struggling during the first two rounds on Monday, junior Jalen Hodges had the lowest round of the tournament for the Braves, shooting a one-over-par 72. It was his personal best round since joining Bradley this season. He finished 44th overall, six shots behind Ciaramitaro.
“Those two guys definitely showed their experience over the tournament,” Roche said.
“Hodges shot a good round yesterday, that could have been a really good round [if] a couple putts fall.”
Freshmen Josh Kirkham and Nick Armbrust both shot seven-over-par in the final round to finish at 51st and 67th respectively.
Armbrust showed noticable improvement after a rough outing on Monday where he shot rounds of 84 and 83.
The third freshman on the team, John Stillman, closed out the Braves’ lineup with a 12-over-par in the final round. He tied for 69th place in Des Moines.
Roche emphasized that these tournaments serve mainly as building blocks to prepare for conference play in the spring. He said he wants this to be a day-to-day process of growth and getting used to playing at the college level.
“We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Roche said.
Roche said that one of the main goals for this team is to instill a routine in taking into account every factor of each shot.
“We talk as much about the mental training as we do with anything else,” Roche said. “Trying to get [pre-shot routines] to be the exact same amount of time, and to do the same thing every time.”
Roche’s biggest area of focus is to build confidence within his young team. He has a strong belief his players’ potential moving forward, but he is still working to instill that same belief in the student athletes
“Every one of [them] is capable of shooting a low score, but there’s a different level when you wake up knowing it,” he said. “There’s no amount of me teaching [them] how to do something that will replace them knowing it and believing that they can do it.”
The Braves will continue to grow and build on their confidence as they return to action on Oct. 14 and 15 in Kettering, Ohio at the Flyer Invitational.