By Justin Maskulinski, Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University golf team had it highest finish of the season Tuesday, placing fourth out of 17 teams at the Firestone Invitational.
The 'Hawks shot 16 over par as a team in the tournament, finishing just four shots out of first place.
"We gave ourselves a chance to win, which is always what we want," Head coach Zac Zedrick said. "No matter what happens, there's always going to be things to learn from."
Junior Jack Sparling led the RedHawks, finishing tied for third overall with a final score of 1 under par.
"Obviously the goal is always to win, and I fell a little bit short of that," Sparling said. "It was a good week overall, so I'm pleased with my finish."
Sparling started off his tournament with a 6-under-par 66. He followed that round up with rounds of 76 and 73.
"Everything seemed to be clicking [in the first round]," Sparling said. "My driver was good off the tee and my irons were good as well and the putter was solid, too. That always helps."
Zedrick spoke highly of Sparling.
"He gave himself a chance to win," Zedrick said. "I was really happy for Jack. He's been working hard and he's capable of this kind of play every week. I was really proud for him."
Freshman Patrick Flavin placed in the top 20 for the second time in three tries, tying for 16th with a score of 4 over par.
Zedrick sees the potential in Flavin.
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"[Flavin can be] as good as he wants to be," Zedrick said. "He works hard, he's very coachable and he wants to get better. If those three things hold true, he's going to be as good as he wants to be."
Senior Scott Cahill followed up his first two rounds of 75 and 76 with a final round of 71, launching himself into a tie for 27th place. Seniors Luke Shaughnessy and Brantley Kushner finished with scores of 7 over par and 20 over par, respectively.
Sophomore Greg Conrad played the tournament as an individual, as teams are only allowed five golfers each, and he finished 11 over par.
"[Conrad] has had the low round at qualifying the last few weeks," Zedrick said. "We've been looking for a fourth scorer throughout the fall. I figured we'd just roll him out there and see what he can do."
Conrad shot two rounds of 75 and a round of 77.
As a team, the RedHawks shot rounds of 289, 294 and 297.
"The team's happy with how we played," Sparling said. "But we always want to win, we were really close, we were right there. There's some things we need to clean up on for our next tournament."
The 'Hawks now have two weeks off before finishing their fall schedule in Georgia and Florida. Sparling hopes to take advantage of the time off.
"We're just going to take a little bit of time off and just refresh then get back at it," Sparling said. "We'll get back in the normal practice routine like we have been in the last few weeks and work on the things we need to individually focus on for our next tournament in Georgia."