After beginning the season with a win at the Streamsong Invitational, No. 5 Virginia men’s golf traveled to Toledo, Ohio Monday and Tuesday to compete at Inverness Collegiate. The team had its work cut out for them in a loaded 16-team field that included NCAA golf powerhouses Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Washington, Southern California and Texas Tech, the Cavaliers clawed their way to a fourth place finish after a third round charge shot them up the leaderboard. Virginia finished the tournament at 12-over 864, after scoring a 7-under 277 in the third round. Texas Tech won the tournament, shooting an impressive 1-over 853. Georgia Tech and Oklahoma rounded out the top three, shooting 7-over 859 and 11-over 863, respectively.
Despite the fourth place finish, the Cavaliers led the field in birdies with 43 — four more than runner-up Georgia Tech. However, it seemed to be an all-or-nothing affair throughout the tournament for Virginia, who also finished 12th in pars over the competition.
The Cavaliers did not start the tournament the way they wanted, shooting a 9-over 293 in the first round to slot them in ninth place. They followed that up with a 10-over 294 in the second round to put them in eighth place heading into day two.
Virginia, however, saved their best for last, playing an extremely strong third round. The Cavaliers recorded a 7-under 277 for the round, which marked the best third round score in the field. Virginia was one of the only two teams to finish under-pat, with the other being Texas Tech with 3-under 281. While the final round did not prove to be enough for a tournament win, it showed that Virginia can hang with the best teams in college golf.
Freshman Ben James continued the dominance he displayed a week ago at Streamsong Invitational, finishing third individually at 2-under 211, just five strokes off the lead. His third round performance contributed heavily to the team’s third round success, as he delivered a 3-under 68 on the final day.
Another impressive performance came from junior George Duangmanee, who fired a 6-over 219 to put him in a tie for 20th. Despite a disappointing opening round of 8-over 79, Duangmanee fought over the next two rounds, shooting a 3-over-74 in the second and 5-under-66 in the third to put him back in contention.
Junior Chris Fosdick was also effective, finishing in a tie for 28th at 7-over 220. Senior Pietro Bovari and sophomore Deven Patel both shot an 11-over 224 in the tournament, good for a tie for 45th.
In what will be a long season for Virginia, the expectation cannot be to win every tournament. However, if the Cavaliers string together impressive performances like they have done to open the season, the sky is the limit for them, as indicated by their impressive third round at Inverness Collegiate.
Virginia will next hit the road for Long Island, N.Y., as they gear up for the Maidstone Invitational, which begins Monday.