Golf team shows improvemen but still finishes behind

Biola men’s golf finished eighth out of 12 at the Point Loma Smee Builders Invitational, which was held on Monday and Tuesday.

Trevor Stewart, Writer

The men’s golf team packed up their clubs and headed to Steele Canyon Golf Club Monday and Tuesday for the Point Loma Smee Builders Invitational. Overall, The Eagles as a team played much better than their previous tournament. Biola finished eighth out of a very talented 12-team field.

Tee time was 7:30 a.m. both days, but it was beautiful golfing weather. Steele Canyon Golf Club is tucked in the back of the canyons of San Diego near the Mexico and California border, which made for a scenic backdrop.

“The course was pretty challenging,” said senior Mike Belleggie. “The greens were running pretty fast and they were probably the hardest part of the course. Most of the scores were higher than normal for the tournament for all of the teams.”

Point Loma took first place in the tournament as a team and also had the top individual golfer, Ryan Ellerbrock.

The top Biola golfer of the tournament was freshman Jordan Swanson, who shot a 78 in the first round, 73 in the second round and finished with 76 in the third round giving him 227 on the tournament which was +14 over par, and good enough for a 16th place finish.

“The key to me playing better was focusing on playing more conservatively than my usual very aggressive play,” Swanson said. “Being in the top 20 in that field is solid, especially in that field, but I made some mistakes I usually wouldn’t make that cost me a number of shots.”

After Swanson, fellow freshman Connor Penfold came in at 35th shooting an 81 in the first round, an even 80 in the second round and a personal best of 75 in the final round finishing with 236 and +23 over par.

Freshman Joshua Mathis placed 40th overall, but shot a solid second round score of 77 as he finished at +25 over par.

Not far behind Mathis in 45th was Belleggie who also shot a good score of 77 in the first round. Belleggie finished at +27 over par.

Sophomore Sam Howell rounded out the Biola field in 51st shooting a great score of 75 in the first round. Howell struggled the next two rounds, however, and finished +30 over par for the tournament.

Both Swanson and Belleggie think the team is making progress. “Our team is looking better, said Bellegie. “I expect that we will probably make some breakthroughs soon.”

“I think part of the reason for us playing better was staying away from double and triple bogeys more than most of the other teams,” said Swanson.

Biola golf is not yet where the team wants it to be but is making great strides to develop the program. The members of the team are hoping to continue their improvement when they travel to Las Vegas Monday for the California Baptist University Spring Break Collegiate at Desert Golf Club.

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