Millersville’s golfers were simply not up for The Challenge.
The Marauders found themselves in unfamiliar territory as they fell to the bottom half of the leaderboard at The Challenge at Mystic Rock in Farmington, PA. After beginning the month of April with two 1st place finishes, Robert Coyne and company slipped to a two-round total of 638 strokes, which was good enough for 9th place – 27 strokes off the leader of the 12-school pack.
Coyne, the top-scoring golfer for Millersville over the season with an average of 74.3, finished his first round with a +8 on the par 72 golf course. Freshman Robby Rowe tied Coyne’s 80 strokes on Sunday. Although both had strong performances, it was the rookie who transferred from Binghamton University, Kevin Davis, who set the precedent with his 79-stroke +7.
Conor Gilbert, a sophomore with two top-10 finishes so far in the month of April, shot an 81 in the first round. Trickling in behind was Maryland native Matt Lutz with an 86. With the below-normal scores from Millersville’s golfers, they woke up Monday morning in 10th place.
With 22 strokes to climb up the leaderboard, Millersville had to turn their tournament around in order to salvage a spot in the NCAA Atlantic/East Super Regional postseason tournament; and Rowe certainly did not have plans on squandering that opportunity.
Rowe recorded his second best round of his collegiate career on Monday, not to mention propelling himself into 16th place overall after the tournament was said and done. His +4 76 was only 5 strokes off of the lowest score and nestled him into the top 4 that day.
Gilbert also improved his score by three shots with his 78. Out of the 68 competing golfers, the sophomore landed in the top half, placing 27th. Lutz also improved his score by three strokes to end with a total of 169.
If only the remaining Marauders had done the same.
After his solid day on Sunday, Davis fell down the leaderboard by hitting a ten-over-par 82 on Monday. He finished tied for 36th. Coyne’s score dwindled by a couple strokes as well, placing him at 37th and one stroke behind his teammate.
The field unfortunately deemed too difficult for the Marauders, who slumped at the worst possible time.
With the season’s clock soon coming to its last tick, the Marauders’ final tournament on Tuesday just became all-the-more imperative. If Coyne and his fellow golfers have anything to do about it, their quest to nab an NCAA bid just may come into fruition after they head over to the state’s capital and tackle the Messiah College Invitational.