By Samantha Meyer
Last weekend, the men’s Cleveland State University golf team traveled to Kentucky to compete at the Eastern Kentucky University Intercollegiate Tournament. After finishing 13th at the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational on Sept. 10, they came into last week’s tournament hoping to place higher and score better.
Cleveland State was one of 12 teams, also competing against local universities such as Bowling Green State University and Ohio University. The Vikings started out the first day of action with a first place standing by junior Zach Robbins. Robbins shot rounds of 68-68 on the first day. He recorded four birdies on his opening 18 holes and proceeded to hit four more birdies and an eagle during his second 18 holes. His two straight rounds of 68 put him at four under par and earned him a one-shot lead over Morehead State University’s Joe Muschong.
The rest of the team fought hard during the first day of the tournament, with a 26th place tie by junior Jules Blakely, a 38th place tie by freshman Gunnar McCollins, a 53rd place tie by sophomore Jack Hanus and a 73rd place day one finish by sophomore David Laib. After day one, the Vikings were in seventh place as a team with team rounds of 285-294.
As day two began on Sept. 15, the Vikings went into the tournament in hopes of moving up in rankings as a team. Robbins moved down two spots and finished in third place for the tournament. In his final round, he posted a 73 to finish just one stroke short of the leaders. His final round of 73 helped him finish with a total of one under par at 209. His score placed him one stroke short of Northern Kentucky University’s Joseph Clark and Avery Green, who tied at two under par to win the tournament. While at first upset with not winning the tournament, Robbins was satisfied with the end result.
“Right after the round, I was not very pleased considering I was leading heading into the last round,” Robbins said. “But thinking about it, I can never be too upset with a third place finish.”
Robbins finished 10 places higher this year compared to last, when he finished 13th place at the 2018 EKU Intercollegiate Tournament.
McCollins and Blakely both finished second for the Vikings and tied for 30th overall at seven-over par. Hanus was also able to move up from 53rd on the first day to 50th place at the conclusion of the tournament. Hanus shot a 72 to finish with a total of 223. The final-round team score added up to 287, finishing the Cleveland State Vikings with a total of 866 to finish eighth overall. Despite the team’s youth, Robbins and the rest of the team aren’t lowering their expectations, but they need to work on their focus.
“We are a very young team, but that shouldn’t lower our expectations,” Robbins said, “One thing we need to work on is our focus throughout rounds.It’s a tall task considering we are walking 36 holes, which is about 8 miles, give or take, with a 10-pound bag on our backs. We definitely need to work on focusing on the game play.”
With the conclusion of the EKU Intercollegiate tournament, the team looks forward to this week’s invitational, which takes place on Sept. 23 at the River Run Country Club in Davidson, North Carolina. Overall, Robbins thought that the tournament went well and showed progress that they can compete in tournaments.
“As a team, I would say we did well [at the EKU Tournament]. Every week, we are continuing to grow and progress. Like any athlete, obviously expectations are that we can compete and win tournaments.” Robbins remarked.
With the team heading to North Carolina for the River Run Invitational, they all hope to bring a win back home to Cleveland.