Following an impressive second-place finish at the General Hackler Championship, No. 16 Virginia men’s golf traveled to Great Waters Course at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Ga. to play in the Linger Longer Invitational Sunday through Tuesday. After a hot start, the Cavaliers finished 8th in the tournament.
The 16-team field included No. 1 Vanderbilt and several other ranked programs such as No. 20 Alabama, Arkansas, No. 11 Georgia Tech and UNC Greensboro. Virginia had played in the same invitational last season — finishing ninth in the field — so they hoped for improvement in 2023.
The Cavaliers’ lineup was the same five players who placed second last week at the General Hackler Championship and third two weeks ago at the Wake Forest Invitational. Freshman Ben James, freshman Bryan Lee, junior George Duangmanee, junior Chris Fosdick and sophomore Deven Patel all took the course in the team section of the event. In addition, they had one player competing as an individual, senior Pietro Bovari.
After the first day of play, the Virginia team sat in fourth place at 1-under 287. They were four strokes behind the leaders and one back from top-ranked Vanderbilt.
James has had an exceptional season thus far and was coming off his third first-place finish of the year where he shot 13-under-23. He shot even par and was tied for 16th individually at the end of Sunday’s play. Duangmanee also shot even par with a 34 on the front nine. Fosdick shot 3-under 69, his best round of the season with five birdies and only two bogeys. The other two players shot over par.
Unfortunately, the Cavaliers shot a 23-over 311 to fall into eighth place after Monday’s second round. They were 28 strokes back from Alabama, who led at 6-under.
Fosdick continued leading the Virginia team and played the best Monday with a 4-over 76. Despite outplaying his teammates, he would fall to 18th place. James recorded one of his worst scores on the season with a 6-over 78 to drop to 39th place at 6-over 150. Patel finished the day in 45th place, Lee in 67th and Duangmanee in 74th.
Individually, Bovari played the best, shooting 1-over 73 in the second round. He jumped into 22nd place in the invitational.
The final round ended with the Cavaliers finishing with a score of 295 to finish tied with South Florida in eighth place. No players scored under par in the final round.
Fosdick continued to be Virginia's best player, shooting a 1-over 73 in the final round to finish tied for 18th. James also scored 1-over 73 to fall back to 40th place.
Although last year Patel shot 6-under 66 in the third round to finish in 13th place, Tuesday he shot 3-over-75 and ended the tournament tied for 49th. Duangmane and Lee finished in 68th and 79th, respectively. Virginia as a team finished eighth in the tournament, one place higher than in 2022.
Even though this was not the Cavaliers’ best performance on the season, there were several good rounds of golf played and the team had the highest number of pars in the tournament, totaling 175. Bovari also played incredibly well on the par 5s with an average score of 4.33, playing them a total of 8-under par. In order to compete with the top of the sport, however, Virginia will need to prove it can win these types of tournaments. Invitationals like the Linger Longer provide a sample of how intense the competition will be further down the line.
The Virginia team continues their season at the Augusta-Haskins Invitational at Forest Hills Golf club in Augusta, Ga. April 1-2.