Golf takes first in rival invitational

Since the Masters is over, you finally have enough time to pay attention to where the real competition is – the collegiate level. And if you’re local, check out the Gannon University men’s golf team as the Knights have been going through their spring schedule.
I know my first sentence sounded sarcastic but I believe there is something to be said about college athletes versus professional athletes. I always thought that for the majority, the college level was always more competitive than the professional level and there are probably many reasons why. But I am not going to get into that right now.
Back to the boys in maroon and gold tearing it up on the fairway — the team hosted its own Gannon Invitational Saturday and earned second place among six teams. The Invitational was held at Whispering Woods Golf Club in Erie.
Mercyhurst took the gold, scoring 296, while the Knights trailed with a combined score of 310. Humber of Canada finished third at 314, followed by Clarion at 316 and Penn State Behrend at 334.
Junior Blaze Hogan of Mercyhurst led all individuals in the field of 38 golfers with a score of 1-under-par 71, while Gannon’s own freshman Ben Sear took fourth with a score of 75.
The next day, the Knights headed to Lake View Country Club in Northeast for day one of the two-day Mercyhurst Spring Invitational.
At the conclusion of the first day, Gannon sophomore Matt Barto highlighted the action for the Knights as he shot 4-over-par 76, good for eighth place among the 39 golfers. In the team standings, Gannon sat in fourth place among seven teams with a score of 308.Mercyhurst led the way at 299, followed by Roberts Wesleyan at 302, and Penn state Behrend at 306.
The final day of the Invitational proved to be the most intense. The Knights rallied back from being nine strokes down to take first place and win the Mercyhurst Invitational.
Barto again lead the squad by tying for first place individually shooting par at 72. He lost the playoff hole to Mercyhurst freshman Harison Laskey.
Junior Daegan Wall finished behind Barto with a total score of 78-71-149. That was the best invitational finish of Wall’s collegiate career, topped only by his first-place finish in 2014 in a dual invitational between Gannon and Mercyhurst.
Other notable scores were senior Cameron Zbrzeznj, who finished ninth at 152; freshman Billy Colbert, who wound up 20th at 157; and Sear placed 24th, scoring 158.
The comeback triumph ended the 2015-16 regular season for the Knights and they are hoping to receive their fourth consecutive bid to the NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Regional hosted by LeMoyne College.
The selections are expected to be announced Friday, and the regionals will be held on May 2-4 at the Timber Banks Golf Club in Baldwinsville, N.Y.

BRANDON JACES
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