By Jimmy Sullivan
Before last weekend, James Mongey had never shot a collegiate round below 70 or attained a two-round score below 144. At the Ryan T. Lee Memorial, however, the Fordham junior did both.
The Morristown, New Jersey native led the way for the Rams with a 140 (-4) performance over two days as the team came out on top in the Lee Memorial, which took place last Saturday and Sunday at Hop Meadow Golf Club in Simsbury, Connecticut. Mongey’s Saturday round was of particular note, as he shot a four-under 68 with eight birdies. In fact, Mongey was one of just two players in an 83-man field to finish the 36-hole Invitational under par, with the other, Yale’s Paul Stankey, finishing at -1.
“The main reason for my individual success was that I putted well from mid-range,” said Mongey. “I gave myself a lot of chances and was fortunate to make a bunch.”
The Rams were leading the tournament by four strokes over Yale and seven strokes over Bentley after day one. But while both of the latter schools faded down the stretch on Sunday, the Rams continued to apply pressure, with three players shooting at or below par. Senior Joseph Trim was incredibly consistent over both days of the weekend, shooting a 73 and a 72 to finish just one-over for the tournament. Senior and Cincinnati native Matt Schiller also finished at one-over for the tournament by shooting 70 (-2) on Sunday. Junior Josh Madarang finished at +4 with a 70 and a 78, while freshman Mithran Denbow finished with a five-over 149. The team finished with a two-under 574 over the weekend and won the Invitational by a comfortable margin of eleven strokes. The team was so consistent, in fact, that it shot the lowest team score on both days of the weekend, with a four-under 284 on Saturday and a two-over 290 on Sunday.
The win marks the Rams’ first team tournament victory in 19 months, with its last team triumph coming at the Coca-Cola Lehigh Valley Invitational in April 2016.
Also competing in the tournament for the Rams were sophomore Tomas Nieves, who shot back-to-back rounds of 74, and junior Kyle Morris, who finished the weekend at +10. Fordham came out on top of the tournament which included Bentley University, Bryant University, Central Connecticut State University, College of the Holy Cross, Fairfield University, Laval University, Long Island University, Manhattan College, Monmouth University, St. Francis University, St. Peter’s University, Wagner College and Yale University.
The Rams competed in the same Invitational last season and finished fifth, with Schiller tying for second place among individual players.
The next event for the Fordham Golf Team takes place on Sept. 18th and 19th, as the team will travel to South Kent, Connecticut to play in the Hartford Hawks Invite. The first round of that Tournament will be 36 holes, instead of the usual 18.
As for sustaining its hot start this year, Mongey says that he and the team are trying to keep things simple. “With five tournaments left this fall, we will always be able to draw on the team success we had in this first tournament,” Mongey said. “It is fun when guys are playing well, so the biggest thing is staying loose and patient and trying to enjoy the ride.”
So far, the team is off to a very good start. A career-best individual performance over two days certainly did not hurt.