The Tech men’s golf team’s 2022-2023 season has officially started. The team has competed in two competitions and is off to a great start. The team is currently being led by coach Bruce Heppler, who has won 70 tournaments during his term. Tech’s golf team started off their season on Sept. 9 at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, which was held in Scottsdale, Ariz. On Sept. 26, Tech competed at the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio for their second competition.
The Maui Jim Intercollegiate is played at Mirabel Golf Club on a 7,118-yard, par 70 layout. At the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, there were a total of 18 teams, and the Tech’s golfers ended the first round in 11th place in the team division. Just last year, the Jackets won this tournament; however, they ended the first round in the middle of the pack this year.
Seniors Connor Howe and Ross Steelman helped the Jackets with a combined total of 12 birdies. Freshman Aidan Tran and senior Bartley Forrester also picked up a pair of 2-over-par 72s on Friday. The Jackets struggled against the field but were able to end the first day in 11th place with a total of 275 (-5). Individually, a new member of the Jackets, Hiroshi Tai, placed in ninth for his first round with a 4-under-par 68. Junior Aidan Kramer tied for 25th with a 3-over-par 75, and his teammate, junior Adam Bratton, also placed 37th with an 11-over-par 83.
After the second round, the Jackets were able to move up in the competition. Tai was able to land his first victory as a Jacket with a 12-under-par round, winning out over Arizona State player Michael Mjaaseth in the 36-hole finish. As a team, the Jackets were able to pass two teams and land in ninth place with a total of 542 (-18). Forrester played the lowest round of his career with four birdies and no bogeys on the back nine.
On the last day of the tournament, the Jackets proved their skills by jumping five spots on the board to land a fourth place finish in the overall tournament. During the closing round, senior Connor Howe scored one of the best scores in program history with round scores of 65-67-65 (-13), landing him a third-place finish and a career-low score of 197. The Jackets finished with a total of 806 (-34) with 72 birdies and 3 eagles throughout the entire event.
Just a few weeks later, the Jackets competed at the Inverness Intercollegiate. Junior Christo Lamprecht made his way up on the leaderboard to second with a 4-under-par 67 and five birdies. Howe also recorded a well-played round, with a 2-under-par 69 and a fifth place slot. Although there was a weather delay for round two, the Jackets continued their strong shots. Lamprecht went into round two in second place but made his way past Ohio State’s Maxwell Moldovan and took the lead by four strokes. Tai stood level and tied for 15th place. The Jackets soared into the lead with a 287 (+3) total.
In the final round, Lamprecht continued to top the leaderboard and completed the event with a two-stroke win against Texas Tech’s Calum Scott and a final score of 72 (+1). Howe placed 14th with a 4-over-par 217 finish. Tai, the top finisher from the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, landed a 20th-place finish with a 219 (+6). The Jackets entered the third and final round leading the field, however, Texas Tech claimed the victory with a six-stroke lead. The Jackets finished as runners up with a total score of 859 (+7) and head to Fort Worth, Texas, to compete in the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 3-4.