The Miami University golf team spent the weekend in Sugar Grove, Ill. as it began the fall competition against 14 other teams at the Northern Intercollegiate. The RedHawks placed 13 out of the 15 teams in their first tournament.
"Our team is capable of much better [than we performed this weekend]," Sophomore Jack Sparling said.
The RedHawks went up against Mid-American Conference foes Ball State University, who finished sixth overall, and host Northern Illinois University, who finished 15th.
Sparling led the way for the 'Hawks as he shot a three round total of 223 and finished nine over par. Sparling shot rounds of 71 (-1), 80 (+8), and 72 (E), en route to a tie for 33rd place overall.
In the first round, Sparling pared the first 11 holes before bogeying the 12th. He then birdied the 17th and 18th holes to finish one under for the round.
"I think I played well in the first and third rounds," Sparling said. "I think there are things the whole team can work on, our short game could improve."
Sparling led the RedHawks with nine total birdies.
Despite the 13th place finish, head coach Zac Zedrick was happy the team could have the experience of playing at the Rich Harvest Farms golf course.
"[Playing at Rich Harvest Farms] was a great experience for the team," Zedrick said. "The quality of that course is similar to an [NCAA] regional course."
Zedrick said he was proud of the way the RedHawks were able to bounce back Sunday to post their best team round score. The 'Hawks began Friday with a rough first round of 42 over par, but they improved in the second (+30) and third (+23) rounds.
Sophomore Daniel Schwarz began the tournament with a first round of 87 (+15), but bounced back to shoot a combined three over par in the final 36 holes. Schwarz had four birdies and two eagles, and no double or more bogeys in the final two rounds
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"[Schwarz] might have been a little overwhelmed at the start of the tournament," Zedrick said. "He found his confidence and was able to improve in the second and third rounds."
Miami had five golfers competing in the tournament. Alongside Sparling and Schwarz were senior Mark MacDonald, who finished 24 over par, junior Scott Cahill, who finished 18 over, and true freshman Greg Conrad, who finished 26 over.
Each player had string of consecutive bogeys at least once, and Zedrick plans to address that in practice.
"We've got to hit the fairway more often," Zedrick said. "Every guy had a stretch of bad holes. If we can get those stretches of four or five bogeys in a row down to one or two we will save ourselves three shots per round and nine or more shots a tournament."
The RedHawks will they will not compete again until Monday Sept. 16 and Tuesday September 17 in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverine Intercollegiate.