The Lehigh men’s golf team concluded its fall season this past weekend after hosting the Lehigh Invitational at Saucon Valley Country Club.
Lehigh shot a 312 on the first day and 310 on the second day, leading the Mountain Hawks to a 10th place finish out of 14 teams.
Senior captain Owen Quinn said the team has struggled to find consistency all fall, and this weekend proved to be no different.
“We were really hoping to play good golf this past weekend, but unfortunately we struggled,” Quinn said. “It was definitely disappointing, considering we had the advantage on our home course.”
Despite Lehigh’s finish, the performances of the underclassmen show promise. Freshman Sam Barton recorded an individual score of 153, the lowest score for the Mountain Hawks. Barton finished in 20th place individually.
Lehigh’s roster consists of five freshmen and two seniors. Quinn said the team entered the fall season with an understanding that there would be a learning curve, given most of the team’s inexperience in college play.
Quinn said college golf presents a far different dynamic than junior golf.
“I think overall it is really important to understand that college golf, unlike juniors, is a team game, so every single shot matters,” Quinn said. “Ultimately, it is all about just going out there and having fun, and just doing what you have been doing your entire life.”
Senior Ryan Kelly said while the fall season didn’t go in the team’s favor, there are several positive aspects they can use for spring season preparation. He said every member of the team is talented, so improving on consistency will make a critical difference moving forward.
“I don’t think we have played anywhere near our best golf this fall. However, at some point during this fall, everyone on our team was hitting the ball well,” Kelly said. “For this spring, we have to work on being more consistent.”
The remaining fall months will consist of weight training and physical development. The Mountain Hawks are also required to participate in yoga once a week and will begin meeting with a sports psychologist to mentally prepare for the spring season.
“We need to start thinking about the mental side of the game, and not thinking about just mechanics,” assistant coach Joe Zelechoski said. “We need to just get up there and hit the ball, and if we do that, then we will start to score where we belong, and will be in contention in the spring.”
Quinn said accountability falls on each player. The few months leading up to the regular season are opportune for the golfers to improve the weak parts of their games and develop their strengths.
This season also marks Quinn’s and Kelly’s last time playing college golf and their last opportunity to win their first Patriot League Championship.
“I have accomplished a lot of personal goals at Lehigh throughout my career. However, I haven’t played my best golf in the Patriot League Tournament,” Quinn said. “There is certainly extra motivation heading into this spring for (Kelly) and I to go out on top as champions.”