Slow start for the men’s golf team

The Mercer Men’s golf team opened their season at the Kiawah Invitational, posting a team score of 315 on the final day of play.  They played through tough conditions to earn a 13th spot overall.  Mercer’s scores of 319, 300, and 315 gave them an overall team score of 934, placing them just behind Georgia Southern and St. John’s.
“We normally don’t play with 30 mph winds, so it was definitely different,” said sophomore Trey Rule about the tough conditions the team had to play through.  On a par 72 course, the average round was more than 80, due to the difficult playing conditions.
Freshman Jeffrey Heinicka finished with a tournament total of 231, tying for 21st place overall and bringing in Mercer’s top individual finish.  Sophomore Trey Rule finished second on the team and tied for 35th overall with a score of 235.  Freshman Oliver Vaidis came in at 236 while junior Hans Reimers scored 239, ranking them 39th and 54th respectively. Junior James Beal tied for 65th place with a total score of 241 while senior Thomas Holmes finished 83rd with a score of 248.
Team members had high expectations going into their first tournament.  “We knew everyone else was playing the same course and it was going to be a difficult day,” said Rule.  The team accepted the conditions for what they were and played their best.
Next the Mercer Bears traveled to Colorado at the Fort Collins Country Club to compete against 14 other teams at the Ram Masters Invitational. After the first day of the tournament, the team was a mere two strokes behind the fifth place competitor, Weber State, and a wide gap of eight strokes ahead of seventh place, Northern Colorado. In terms of individuals, senior John Gregory Joseph from Valdosta jolted into fourth place with a score of 142 and tied with three other competitors. Freshman Jeffrey Heinicka, Jr. also accomplished an outstanding feat on the first day of the tournament when he tied with another competitor for 24th place with 146 strokes.
The second day of the Ram Masters Invitational began bright and early as the Bears prepared themselves for day two of the competition Tuesday morning. At 8 a.m. the Bears began taking on 18 holes of the Fort Collins Country Club. Wichita State University took the first place win with 859 strokes, but our Mercer Bears finished in fifth place in a two-way tie with Weber State with both teams earning a final score of 873 (+33).
“We really had an average performance at the tournament. We did better than the first event, but it wasn’t where I hoped and wanted us to be,” mentioned Coach Steve Bradley. The coach had hoped to for a top 5 finish, but the team did not attain. He did, however, admit that there were elements the team was not used to and that the golfers did not have much time to prepare.
“We got back from Charleston on the 11th and we left on the 15th. They had one day off on Wednesday and two days to prepare for Colorado. Colorado was a little different. It’s about 5000 feet above sea level, so the ball flies a little differently. It was different, but it was interesting and made us better golfers,” added Bradley.
Individually, each of the Bears did their best and achieved outstanding ranks at the tournament. John Gregory Joseph dropped five places, but still finished in an excellent ninth place position, which was Mercer’s highest ranking individual place. He tied with a Colorado State player, earning a score of +5. This marks Joseph’s second top 10 finish during his college golf career. Junior James Beale from New Zealand, Jeffrey Heinicka, Jr., and a Boise State student completed the tournament and tied for 20th place with a score of +8. The Bears also had junior Hans Reimers of Albany, Oregon and freshman Oliver Vaidis from Bradenton, Florida tie for 36th and 67th places respectively. Last but certainly not least, senior Alex Street of Medford, Oregon achieved 78th place.
“We really need a few people to separate from the group and really contribute. We had around 2 or 3 do so last year, and we need that this year,” said Coach Bradley when mentioning the teams weaknesses.
The Mercer men’s golf team is made up of three freshman, two sophomores, three juniors, and three seniors guided by head coach Steve Bradley and assistant coach Jacob Davidson. The team is set to compete again in early October when Mercer will host the sixth annual Brickyard Collegiate Golf Championship on Friday, October 5th at 8 a.m. in the Brickyard at Riverside.
“This is our only home event,” stated Coach Bradley, “For any student who shows up, it’s three Paw Points. We’d love to have those who have never been to a golf tournament to come out and support their fellow Bears”.