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Ohio University men's golf captains Ty Herriott, left, and Peyton White, right, both seniors, pose for a portrait at the Ohio University Driving Range on West State Street on Sept. 21.

Men's Golf: Ohio showing some promise early in 2016-17 season

Ohio is halfway through their 2016 fall season, and through its first two tournaments, they have shown that this year may be one to remember.

But in order for that to hold true, the cards have to fall accordingly.

The first tournament was one to forget as a team. Much of the squad struggled to score in the low 70's, leading to an 11th place finish. 

There was, however, one bright spot.

Senior co-captain Ty Herriott, finished in a tie for fifth place thanks to career-bests in his overall tournament score of 207 (-3), tied for the third-best three-round score in program history, and his second round score of 65 (-5). 

Herriott's impressive second round performance consisted of only pars and birdies, or a "clean card", as coach Bob Cooley said.

"I think that really showed him and the rest of us that he was for real," Cooley said. 

While Herriott's performance was something to marvel about, the first tournament showed that the rest of the team still needed to step up in order for the Bobcats to compete. 

That was the case five days later.

The second tournament saw Ohio finish in second place with a second round score of 274 (-6) that was tied for the best round-score in program history set back in the 1961-62 season.

This time, it wasn't just Herriott who stepped up. 

Sophomore Michael Kenney, playing in only his second career tournament, carded a career-best 67 (-3) in the first round. He finished in a tie for •6th. 

The team's outstanding performance was capped off by Herriott, who matched his impressive numbers from the first tournament with an overall score of 207 (-3) and another solid second round score of 65 (-5).  

"It was fun watching the kids play some good golf and make some birdies," said Cooley. "We've been talking. They know we have a good team, and it kind of came out down there."

Overall, the Bobcats showed huge improvement from years past and an even larger improvement compared to the past tournament. The early signs show that this year's Bobcats are capable of doing some damage, enough damage to potentially win their first tournament since 2008.

"We are looking pretty good and I think we made some pretty big strides this past tournament," said White. "I think last year we had a little trouble closing the door. We had some opportunities to win and some opportunities for some really good finishes and just kind of didn’t come through because we had a young team that was a little inexperienced, so it was good to see going into the last round that we put up a good number."

The experience is proving to be quite a positive, as both White and Herriott appeared to have found their strides this season, with Herriott showing the most improvement early on. This year, however, Herriott already has two top-five finishes.

"At the beginning of the summer I really figured some stuff out with my game and worked with my golf coach back home," said Herriott. "I’ve basically worked harder than I ever have before and it is amazing what can happen when you work really hard. I have guys around me pushing me, making me work harder not only on the golf course but in the weight room and in the classroom."

While strong performances from the team's veterans will be vital for tournament success, it will be just as important for the team's back-end starters to hold steady in the middle, or maybe even at the front of the leaderboard. 

So who can step up? 

Ohio will need strong showings from Kenney, who proved capable in the last tournament, from juniors Brady Bohl and Grant Engel, who should continue to improve as the season goes on, as well as Ben Sattler.

With two tournaments left to play this fall, Ohio will look to keep the momentum built from their last big finish and end the season with the confidence needed to be a force in the spring season. 

The Bobcats will travel to Akron to play in the Firestone Invitational on Oct. 3-4. 

In 2015, the Bobcats finished tied for fourth place out of 16 teams, so the tournament should serve as another good test to see how much the Bobcats have improved this season.


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