The Lehigh men’s golf team opened its season with a sixth-place finish at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational tournament at the Seven Oaks Golf Club in Hamilton, New York, on Sept. 8-9.
The result put Lehigh, which shot 833 on the day, in the top half of the 15-team field.
After the conclusion of Saturday’s play, the Mountain Hawks were tied for second heading into day two. However, a rough start on Sunday morning dropped them back down four spots.
“Since this is our first tournament and we opened up with 36 holes on Saturday, as coaches we are not all that concerned,” Coach Henry D’Alberto said. “It is possible that (the team) was tired and lost a little bit of focus. The key is getting a good night’s sleep and believing in yourself.”
Lehigh returns two of its best players from last season, juniors Ryan Kelly and Owen Quinn. Kelly was a first team All-Patriot League Honoree for the second year straight, while Quinn led Lehigh in scoring average.
On the first hole on Sunday, Kelly shot a double bogey. However, he regrouped and finished as the only Mountain Hawk to place in the top 10 individually. Quinn missed a top 10 finish by one stroke, placing 11th at two over par.
“It’s always nice to start the season off well,” Kelly said. “That way you can build a foundation for the rest of the year and stay confident.”
Over the summer, Quinn won the Massachusetts Amateur Public Links Championship.
“I played a lot of golf this summer while also caddying, so I was practicing all the time,” Quinn said. “I started to come into form in August after I won a tournament which gave me a lot of confidence. I am very happy where my game is at at the moment.”
The Mountain Hawks will look to build momentum in Apalachin, New York at the Matthews Auto Collegiate Invitational on Sept. 30. This will be the team’s second tournament this fall.
“We are doing nothing different than we usually do to prepare for this next invitation,” D’Alberto said. “There is nothing special that we have to continue to do other than work on our games.”
Lehigh’s ultimate goal this year is to win the Patriot League Tournament.
Last year, Lehigh finished in fourth place with Kelly finishing in third overall. Kelly said that it’s important that the team focuses on achieving smaller goals, like winning other tournaments, before thinking about the Patriot League Tournament.
The Mountain Hawks have not won a Patriot League Championship since 2013, when the team hosted it at the Saucon Valley Country Club. Lehigh is trying to end its five-year drought this season.
“To be able to end that drought with this team would be a testament to our hard work,” Quinn said. “To know that we can succeed with whatever is thrown at us is something that we are striving for this year.”