Oakland golf suffers brutal defeat at Tiger Invitational


Photo courtesy of Oakland University Athletics.

Photo courtesy of Oakland University Athletics.

Earlier this month, the Oakland men’s golf team traveled to Auburn, Alabama to compete in the Tiger Invitational. The Golden Grizzlies met 17 other golf teams in Auburn, including the hosting Tigers, but it was a rough weekend for the team and head coach Nick Pumford.

Oakland’s five-man team of Ellis Kinnaird, Colin Sikkenga, Bhavneet Sohal, Yaro Ilyenko and Anthony Comito struggled mightily throughout the course of the three-day event, and it turned out to be a week to forget in Oakland’s season.

In the event’s first day, Oakland failed to have a competitor finish under par, and the Golden Grizzlies set themselves up for a steep hill to climb over the next two days.

Freshman Kinnaird led the way for Oakland on the first day with a 73, which was one stroke over par and good for a tie for 44th place after 18 holes.

Sikkenga, a graduate student, also finished with a 73 in the opening round. Sohal followed closely behind with a 74, which put him in a tie for 56th place.

Ilyenko shot a 77, which was good for a five-way tie for 74th place. 

Comito was seven shots above par, and he finished the first day in a three-way tie for 86th place.

As a team, Oakland finished the first day 24 shots behind the event-leading Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Only the best four scorers on each team are counted, so the Golden Grizzlies combined for a score of 297, which put them in a tie for 17th place.

The event’s second day didn’t treat Oakland any better. All five Golden Grizzlies shot worse than they did the first day, and it set them at the bottom of the standings going into day three.

Oakland’s second-day score of 306 was the highest of any team over the three days, and it killed any momentum the Golden Grizzlies were trying to build going into the final day.

The Golden Grizzlies trimmed five shots off their second-day total in the third day, but their final-day score of 301 was still the worst among the 18 teams, and Pumford’s team finished comfortably in last place. 

Oakland finished with an overall score of 904, which was 12 strokes higher than the next closest team (Lamar University) and 21 strokes above the 16th place team (Wichita State).

A 904-stroke finish put Oakland 40 shots above par, and 81 shots off the event-winning Auburn Tigers. 

Oakland will head to the Craft Farms Intercollegiate in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The invitational is set to be hosted by the South Alabama Jaguars.

The Golden Grizzlies will then enjoy a three-week break before embarking on the Redhawk Invitational in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Oakland will then depart for Florida, where it will compete in the Horizon League Championships. 

Last season, Oakland finished third in the Horizon League Championships behind Wright State and Youngstown State. Three of the five participants from last year’s third-place-finishing team — Sikkenga, Ilyenko and Comito — are all back again this season.