After a long absence, Fordham Golf made its return to the winner’s circle on Monday, April 4. The Rams got off to a hot start and picked up a wire-to-wire victory as the rain poured down at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of the Lehigh Valley Collegiate Invitational, their first win since 2012.
“There really is no better feeling than winning,” said sophomore Joseph Trim. “We have always known that we have the potential to play really well and win, and to finally get it done is very rewarding.”
The Rams took the first round lead by posting a team score of 303 on Sunday, three strokes clear of Lafayette, the tournament host. They brought it home on Monday with a closing 298, good for a nine-stroke victory.
“We tried our best to not change our behavior or mindset on Sunday night,” said Trim. “We made sure we treated the final round just as any other round and to go out and play the course instead of playing against our opponents.”
Fordham’s stay in Pennsylvania was highlighted by the performance of sophomore Matt Schiller, who took second place on the individual leaderboard. He slept on the lead after an opening 71 but managed only a 76 in the final round, falling into the first runner-up spot. While his failure to close is a mild disappointment, the result still stands as the best of his college career.
While Schiller enjoyed one of the most impressive tournaments from a Fordham player in recent memory, the victory was a team effort; all five Rams with counting scores played solid golf. Trim and fellow sophomore James Mongey tied for ninth, five strokes behind the winner. Freshman Tommy Hayes opened with an 82 but closed with a strong 74, moving into a tie for 31st, while freshman Josh Madarang tied for 38th, one stroke behind. Freshman Kyle Morris, playing as an individual, posted scores of 84 and 85 to finish in 94th place.
The host venue, Silver Creek Country Club, is a well-regarded Donald Ross design located in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. The course saw steady precipitation over the two days and gusts of wind that reached up to 40 miles per hour. That kind of weather is tough on any golfer, but according to Trim, the Rams were able to get through it relatively unscathed.
“I think [the weather] affected us less than other teams,” said Trim. “The key to playing in bad weather is to have a good mindset and know that it is going to be difficult. Instead of being disappointed about the weather, we did our best to remain unaffected. Fortunately, we withstood the elements.”
P.J. Acierno of La Salle was the medalist, firing twin 73s for the event. He was in a tie for fourth place after the opening round but rose three spots on Monday, mostly due to final round fades from Schiller, Connor O’Brien of Bucknell and Eamon Marone of Lehigh.
The event was the Rams’ second of the season. A week before, the team competed in the Wildcat Invitational, hosted by Villanova. It tied for ninth out of 21 teams. Hayes led the way by tying for 14th, while Schiller and Trim tied for 37th. It was a solid finish, but not one that indicated an imminent victory.
This win was Fordham Golf’s first since the 2012 Rhody Invitational, where the Rams topped six other teams for their second win of the spring. The members of that winning squad have all left the program, meaning that every one of the team’s current members celebrated his first collegiate victory this week.
“We knew that four solid rounds would go a long way for us and fortunately, we were able to close it out for the win,” said Trim. “I think this will help us in the future as we can fall back on this win and have confidence in our upcoming events.”
The Rams will return to action on Sunday, April 16 at the Yale Spring Invitational in New Haven, Connecticut.