Nearly two months ago, the GC athletic department announced plans to drop the men’s and women’s golf programs after the 2013-14 season. While the women have not fielded even an individual golfer in the last two seasons, the news came to the men in the middle of a unique season setup. Within the Crossroads League, golf is one of two sports where teams can play in both the fall and the spring; it is, however, the only sport in which the regular season begins in August and finishes on the final day of April.
After an early-spring season schedule filled with poor weather and postponements, the Maple Leafs’ first action since October came Monday at the Purdue North Central Invitational, hosted by Briar Leaf Golf Course in LaPorte. Goshen’s three-man team is one short of the four players required to receive a team score, so the Leafs did not figure into the team totals.
Over a total of 54 holes, the team totaled 264 strokes, which was their highest cumulative score of the season. The previous high, 256, was also carded in northwest Indiana, at Crown Point’s Whitehawk Country Club last August 28. In both cases, the weather was somewhat short of ideal; high temperatures soared into the 90s on both days at Whitehawk, while early tee times Monday found the thermometer struggling to crack 50.
As he has at each meet this season, Ben Pollitt, a junior, paced the Leafs, firing an 80 over the par-72 layout. Alejandro Genis, a sophomore, carded a 90, with classmate Brian Charles four shots behind at 94. In all three cases, the individual scores were the highest of the season to date, something that could well be expected based on early-season rust – the Leafs had not played competitively since October 4, and the last event in which all three golfers completed their rounds was September 27.
After the cancellation of Indiana Wesleyan’s spring invitational last weekend, Goshen’s final golf season has only four spring events. The first was Monday’s invitational; the team will not compete again until April 17 in Jackson, Mich. The Leafs’ own home meet will follow on Saturday, April 20, with the Crossroads League team championship set for April 29 and 30 at Indianapolis’s Broadmoor Country Club.
With the team incapable of posting a complete collective score, a Goshen player would have to win the individual conference championship to qualify for the national tournament. Last season’s low round at the tournament was a 68; in 2011, the last year in which an individual medalist is named on the conference website, two 71’s and a 70 took top honors in the three-round event.