Villanova freshman Connor Daly got a share of first place in the individual standings and the Wildcats finished in a tie for fourth in the team chase as the Wildcat Invitational concluded Tuesday in some typically unfavorable Wildcat Invitational weather conditions at White Manor Country Club in Willistown Township.
Some pretty impressive thunderstorms rolled through the area late in the morning resulting in an hour-and-a-half delay, but the 19-team field got the second round in and played some pretty solid golf, all things considered.
Lehigh, led by another of the three co-champions, Johnny Hsu, a sophomore from Atlanta, broke out of a tight pack to capture the team crown. The Mountain Hawks matched par with a 284, which, combined with their opening-round 286, gave them a 2-over 570 total.
Defending team champion Cleveland State, the highest-ranked team in the field at No. 144 by Golfstat, also matched par with a 284 Tuesday to finish two shots back of Lehigh in second at 4-over 572. Delaware, which had grabbed the lead at the end of the opening round with an even-par 284, added a 289 to finish alone in third at 5-over 573.
Villanova added a 291 to its opening-round 285 to get a share of fourth at 8-over 576 with Big East rival St. John’s. The Red Storm carded the lowest team round of the tournament, a 3-under 281, to get their piece of fourth.
Navy finished sixth at 12-over 580 after a 1-over 289, Fordham took seventh at 14-over 582 after a 293 and Drexel was eighth at 16-over 584 after posting a 295 in the final round.
Saint Joseph’s added a 299 to its opening-round 298 to finish in a tie for 13th with Bucknell (304-293) at 597.
Villanova’s Daly of Bronxville, N.Y. added a 2-under 69 to his opening-round 70 to get a share of the individual title with Hsu and Cleveland State’s Patrick Luth, a senior from Medina, Ohio, at 3-under 139. Hsu had the best round of the day, a 5-under 67, while Luth, who shared the opening-round lead with a 68, matched par with a 71 Tuesday.
Villanova also got a strong showing from Lucas Trim, a senior from Tampa, Fla., who added a 72 to his opening-round 70 to end up as part of a seven-man logjam tied for sixth at even-par 142.
Also for the Wildcats, junior Andy Butler, a member of Manheim Township’s 2012 PIAA Class AAA championship team, had a 73 to finish tied for 21st at 3-over 145. Zach Egermayer, a junior from Glen Rock, N.J., finished in a tie for 48th at 150 after posting a 77 and Will Byrne, a junior from McLean, Va., finished in a tie for 85th at 156 after an 82.
Villanova had three players competing as individuals and two of them, Andrew Bowyer, a sophomore from Summit, N.J., and Andrew MacMillan, a junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., came in at 3-over 74, which would have been counters in the team competition.
Bowyer finished tied for 58th at 151 and MacMillan was tied for 80th at 155. MacMillan was joined at that figure by Connor Downey, a freshman from Franklin, Tenn. who added a 79 to his opening-round 76.
I talked to Butler and head coach Jim Wilkes in early February for a college spotlight feature for the spring edition of Tri-State Golfer, which should be showing up in pro shops and other golf outlets throughout the region later this week.
They were optimistic the Wildcats could build off a solid fall portion of the season this spring. I’m sure they had visions of a team win in the Wildcat Invitational after trailing Delaware by just a shot after the opening round, but it was a solid showing and Villanova showed some depth with the performances of Bowyer and MacMillan in the second round.
In addition to Hsu’s outstanding round, Lehigh also got a 3-under 68 from Billy Johns, a junior from Johns Creek, Ga., which enabled him to finish tied for fourth at 1-under 141.
Also for the Mountain Hawks, Ryan Kelly, a freshman from Annapolis, Md., finished tied for 13th at 1-over 143 after a 2-over 74, and Owen Quinn, a freshman from Holden, Mass., finished tied for 31st at 5-over 147 after carding a 75.
Navy’s Thomas Fricke, a junior from Haymarket, Va., had shared the opening-round lead with Cleveland State’s Luth with a 68, but fell back with a 73 to share fourth place with Lehigh’s Johns at 1-under 141.
Delaware had two of the six players who shared sixth place with Villanova’s Trim at even-par 142. They were senior Marc Oliveri, a former Conestoga Valley standout, and Robert Diforio, a sophomore from White Plains, N.Y. Oliveri added a 73 to his opening-round 69 while Diforio, competing as an individual, had a 72 Tuesday after opening with a 70.
St. John’s also had two players at 142 as Sean Byrne, a senior from Rockville Center, N.Y., fired a 2-under 69 and Seong Yub Baek, a sophomore from Arcadia, Calif., finished up with a 2-under 70. Rounding out the group at 142 were Fordham’s Matt Schiller, a junior from Cincinnati who finished with a 72, and Cleveland State’s Anton Krecic, a sophomore from Columbia Station, Ohio who posted a 2-under 69 in Tuesday’s final round.
Delaware had two players – Jack Gianniny, a junior from Pittsford, N.Y., and Kieran Purcell, a junior from Jersey City N.J. – who finished in the group tied for 13th at 1-over 143. Gianniny had a 71 and Purcell, who opened with a 69, finished up with a 74.
Two other Blue Hens – Blaine Lafferty, a junior from Marlton, N.J, and Mark Benevento, a sophomore form Somers Point, N.J. – finished tied for 35th at 148. Lafferty posted his second straight 74 while Benevento rebounded from an opening-round 77 with an even-par 71 that helped the team cause.
Drexel was led by Adam Mistretta, a junior from Livermore, Calif. who also finished in the group tied for 13th at 1-over 143 after a final-round 70. Freshman Connor Schmidt, a member of Peters Township’s 2015 PIAA Class AAA second-place finisher, had a strong showing, finishing in a tie for 17th at 2-over 144 after a final-round 74.
Junior Adam Fricke, a former Garden Spot standout, finished in a tie for 35th at 148 after a final-round 75, sophomore Mike Cook, who starred scholastically at Conestoga, finished in a tie for 41st at 149 after a final-round 76 and Yoseph Dance, a senior from Richmond, Va., finished in a tie for 85th at 156 after a final-round 77.
St. Joe’s was led by sophomore Ross Pilliod, a Berks Catholic product who finished tied for 31st at 5-over 147 after adding a 73 to his opening-round 74. Michael O’Brien, a freshman from West Chester, Ohio, finished in a tie for 35th at 148 with a pair of 74s.
Sophomore Drew Taylor, a former East Berlin standout, and junior Tyler Sokolis, a Central Bucks West product, both finished in a tie for 58th at 151 for the Hawks with rounds of 77 and 75, respectively, Tuesday. Freshman Richard Riva, a former Lancaster Catholic standout, finished in a tie for 77th at 154 with a pair of 77s.
A performance of note Tuesday was turned in by Bucknell freshman Peter Bradbeer, a scholastic standout at Friends’ Central who was a prominent junior player at Merion Golf Club. Bradbeer had a 2-under 69 and was the medalist for the Bison for the tournament at 3-over 145.
Navy sophomore Paul Mauer, who led St. Joseph’s Prep to the 2014 PIAA Class AAA team title, competed as an individual at White Manor and finished in a tie for 48th at 150 after a final-round 74.