For the third time this season, the men’s golf team finished last in tournament play, ending the Drake Zach Johnson Invitational at +102 as a team.
The Panthers finished the first day just 9 strokes behind 11th-placed Northern Iowa, but a few tough rounds kept Eastern at bay, falling 36 strokes back of Northern Iowa and 75 strokes back Bradley, the winner of the event.
Junior Romeo Perez had one of his worst showings of the season this week on the par-71 Glen Oaks Country Club course.
Perez posted 10 over-par scores in his 18 holes Tuesday, including a rough 10-stroke 15th hole that punctuated an 84-stroke round.
Perez said he was just a little off.
“Yeah, it was a very bad tournament for me,” Perez said. “I played really bad from the tee and couldn’t hit a fairway, and on a tough course like this, it’s the main key. My second round was ok, but the other two were too far off to compete.”
Eastern had both familiar and more inexperienced silver linings this tournament, though: senior Charlie Adare and freshman Nic Nguyen.
Adare finished tied for 10th overall, his first top 10 finish of the season, after going just +7 in 54 holes.
Adare’s final round 73 included an even-par front nine and three birdies overall.
Nguyen’s strong 79-stroke final round, the lowest behind Adare for Eastern, serves as his season-low for 18 holes.
Nguyen said the successful round was a matter of confidence and calmness of mind.
“I just have to believe in myself more because I know I have it,” Nguyen said. “Sometimes I press too hard because I want to do well, which causes me to overthink, but today I played well because I wasn’t thinking all that much.”
The collegiate rookie Nguyen struggled in his first two competitions this season, but he said his older teammates have been great role models and helpful teammates.
“[Charlie] and Romeo are great,” Nguyen said. “They’re good golfers and even better people, and they’re very welcoming to freshman like Pierce [Allord] and I. They’re great teammates and are always positive after I don’t do my best.”
Allord finished the day at +14 and +36 for all three rounds, struggling to eight over-par holes on the front nine of Tuesday’s play.
Junior Marcello Verdolin was the final competitor for Eastern this week, and his +37 final tally ranked him 70th overall in the field.
Just one more tournament remains for Eastern in its fall season, and Perez said the team needs to keep working to get out of the cellar of these events.
Perez said, “We’ll keep grinding, trying to improve on our weaknesses and try to finish on a good note.”
Eastern’s final fall event takes place on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Austin Peay F&M Bank Intercollegiate at Greystone Golf Course in Dickson, Tennessee.
Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]