Villanova got a pair of top-five individual finishes that led the Wildcats to third place in the team standings as La Salle hosted the Finegan Invitational at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club Monday.
The event is named for the late Jim Finegan, a La Salle graduate who was a noted golf historian. Were he still with us, Finegan would have regaled Monday’s competitors with tales of the days when Whitemarsh Valley hosted a PGA Tour stop each year for quite a number of years. You read that right, the PGA Tour used to stop in Philadelphia every summer. It remains one of the true oddities of sports that there is not a regular tour stop in an area with the kind of golf history that Philadelphia boasts.
Villanova junior Andy Butler, who starred scholastically at Manheim Township, was one of three players who ended up in a tie for second at even-par 144. After opening with a 1-over-par 73 over the 6,641-yard, par-72 Whitemarsh Valley layout, Butler carded a 1-under 71 in the afternoon as spring made a belated appearance just in time for the 14-team field to complete two rounds.
Lucas Trim, a senior from Tampa, Fla., finished alone in fifth for the Wildcats, a shot behind his teammate at 1-over 145. Trim, coming off a tie for second at last week’s Coca-Cola Lafayette Invitational at Silver Creek Country Club, matched Butler’s afternoon 71 after opening up with a 74.
Butler and Trim helped the Wildcats post rounds of 306 and 295 for a 25-over 601 total. But they were far back in third, behind the top two as Longwood edged Drexel by a shot for the team title. The Lancers added a 3-over 291 in the afternoon to their opening-round 295 for a 10-over 586 total. The Dragons led the field through the first 18 holes with a 3-over 291 and came back with an afternoon 296 to finish a shot behind Longwood at 587. It was another 14 shots back to Villanova in third.
Lehigh bounced back from an opening-round 314 with a 3-over 291 in the afternoon to gain a share of fourth place with Delaware, which posted rounds of 304 and 301, at 605. The host Explorers finished alone in eighth place at 614 after a pair of 307s.
Longwood was led by individual champion Jordan Boulton, a senior from England, who recorded one of the day’s two sub-70 rounds, a 3-under 69, in the morning and came back with a 1-under 71 in the afternoon for a 4-under 140, good for a four-shot margin of victory.
The Lancers’ Nick Contini, a junior from Granville, Ohio, joined Villanova’s Butler and Drexel’s Yoseph Dance, a senior from Richmond, Va., in the three-way for second at even-par 144. Contini and Dance both matched par in both rounds to arrive at 144.
Longwood also got a solid showing from Brandon Weaver, a freshman from Purcelville, Va. who finished tied for 13th at 5-over 149 after a final-round 74. Adam Szwed, a sophomore from Woodbridge, Va., bounced back from an opening-round 79 with a 2-over 74 that was a big boost to the team cause to finish tied for 24th at 153. Teagan Stephenson, a freshman from Frederick, Md., finished 32nd with rounds of 80 and 75 for a 157 total.
Delaware was led by Kieran Purcell, a junior from Jersey City, N.J. who finished alone in sixth with rounds of 75 and 71 for a 2-over 146 total.
Backing up Dance for Drexel was sophomore Mike Cook, the former Conestoga standout who was one of three players who ended up in a tie for seventh at 3-over 147 after an afternoon 74. Former Episcopal Academy standout Trey Croney, a sophomore at Lafayette, was also in that group with rounds of 73 and 74. Rounding out the trio at 147 was Lehigh’s Owen Quinn, a freshman from Holden, Mass. who had rounds of 74 and 73.
After Butler and Trim, Villanova got a tie for 24th out of Connor Daly, a freshman from Bronxville, N.Y. who had rounds of 76 and 77 for a 153 total, a tie for 48th from Andrew MacMillan, a junior from Scottsdale, Ariz. who had rounds of 83 and 76 for a 159 total and tie for 67th from Will Byrne, a junior from McLean, Va. who had rounds of 86 and 81 for a 167 total.
It was a solid day all around for Drexel. Backing Dance and Cook were freshman Connor Schmidt, a former Peters Township standout, and Adam Mistretta, a junior from Livermore, Calif., both of whom finished tied for 10th at 4-over 148. Both went 73 in the morning and came back with 75 in the afternoon.
Junior Adam Fricke, a Garden Spot product, had rounds of 73 and 77 to finish tied for 15th at 150.
Backing up Purcell for Delaware was Mark Benevento, a sophomore from Somers Point, N.J. who was also in the group tied for 10th at 148 after rounds of 73 and 75. The Blue Hens’ Bobby Diforio, a sophomore from White Plains, N.Y., and senior Marc Oliveri, a Conestoga Valley product, were among the group tied for 33rd at 156.
Jack Gianniny, a junior from Pittsford, N.Y., finished tied for 58th at 163 for the Blue Hens. Competing as an individual, Blake Lafferty, a junior from Marlton, N.J., finished tied for 48th at 159 after an afternoon 77.
Host La Salle was led by Evan Gaesser, a freshman from Kendall, N.Y. who finished tied for 15th with a 150 total that included a morning round of 1-over 73. Redshirt senior P.J. Acierno, a product of La Salle High School, finished tied for 18th at 151 with rounds of 76 and 75.
Sophomore Nick Geiman, a York Catholic product, finished tied for 52nd at 160, and senior Joe Markmann, a teammate of Acierno’s on some very strong La Salle High School teams, finished tied for 56th at 162. Competing as an individual, junior Brandon Raihl, a former Conrad Weiser standout, made a play for a possible promotion to the starting lineup by finishing in the group tied for 15th with Gaesser at 150 after a pair of 75s.
A couple of other locals teed it up at Whitemarsh Valley, including Navy sophomore Paul Mauer, a member of St. Joseph Prep’s 2014 PIAA Class AAA championship team who finished tied for 52nd with a pair of 80s and a 160 total and Bucknell freshman Peter Bradbeer, a Friends Central product who represented Merion Golf Club on the Golf Association of Philadelphia junior circuit and finished tied for 58th at 163 with rounds of 81 and 82.