In the team’s first tournament of the season, Virginia men’s golf finished first at the Streamsong Invitational at Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, Fla. taking place Monday and Tuesday.
Women’s golf, meanwhile, also competed in its first event, with the Cavaliers finishing third at the Annika Intercollegiate at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Minn. taking place Monday through Wednesday.
The Cavalier men started hot in round one, shooting a 21-under 267, tying the school single-round scoring mark. The team followed that up with rounds of 20-under 268 and 15-under 273 to go wire-to-wire. The Cavaliers held off a furious third round charge from host Lipscomb, with the Bisons shooting a 33-under 255 in the round to earn themselves second place.
Virginia was led by freshman Ben James, who made a statement in his first collegiate tournament. The Milford, Conn. native posted a school record tournament of 20-under 196, locking up first place along the way. The mark places just two strokes back of the two lowest tournament performances in NCAA history. Over the course of the entire 54 holes of play, James did not record a single bogey.
James set the tone for the Cavaliers, but he had plenty of support from his teammates. Senior Pietro Bovari finished in a tie for third, posting a 15-under 201, his career best score. Bovari posted 21 birdies over three rounds, three more than teammate James. As one of only two seniors on the squad, Bovari’s opening tournament statement is big for a young team looking to make a mark.
Junior George Duangmanee and sophomore Deven Patel chipped in with rounds of 11-under 205, a tie for 10th, and 10-under 206, a tie for 16th, respectively, to back up the performances of Bovari and James. Junior Chris Fosdick placed 47th with a 1-under-215 and freshman Bryan Lee, playing as an individual, placed 37th with a 4-under 212.
It was a great start to the season for Coach Bowen Sargent and the entire team, who look to climb the ranks to an elite program in NCAA golf.
On the women’s side, the Cavaliers looked to justify — or potentially even improve — their No. 10 preseason ranking in the country. The lineup for the Cavaliers at the event consisted of sophomore Amanda Sambach, sophomore Megan Propeck, junior Jennifer Cleary, senior Celeste Valinho and graduate student Riley Smyth.
On the opening day of Virginia’s third appearance at the tournament, the team shot 4-under 284 and finished in first place following an incredible performance by Sambach.
Shooting 7-under 65, Sambach tied the Cavalier single-round scoring record and finished at the individual leader for the first round. Her bogey-free round tied current LPGA touring professional Lauren Coughlin. Sambach, following day one, had a four shot lead over Texas’ Bohyun Park.
Prior to the tournament, Sambach was named as one of 25 players to the 2023 Annika Award Watch List, which is presented annually to the most outstanding female collegiate golfer.
Cleary shot under par on the first day of the tournament as well, with a 1-under 71 to finish the day in fifth place.
Propeck was playing in her first collegiate tournament and shot a 1-over 73.
After the second day of the tournament, Sambach held her lead over the field. Sambach shot 4-under 68 to end the day at 11-under-133 with a six-shot lead over the closest competitors.
The Cavaliers finished the tournament in third place with a 1-under 863. This was their best finish in their three appearances at the event. Propeck finished 19th overall at 3-over 219 with a final round score of even par.
On the final day of the tournament, although Sambach did not play as well as the first two, she took home medalist honors. She shot 2-over 74 and finished in first place at 9-under 207.
Valinho and Cleary tied for 35th at 6-over 222 and Smyth ended the tournament with a final score of 223 in 41st place.
Women’s golf competes in their next tournament Monday through Tuesday at Tennessee’s Mercedes Benz Collegiate at Cherokee Country Club, while the men’s team plays next Sept. 26-27 at the Inverness Collegiate in Toledo, Ohio.