The Marshall Thundering Herd, under second-year head coach Matt Grobe, have won back-to-back titles for only the third time in program history, which dates to 1949.
The team came away with victories at the John Piper Invitational on Sept. 17 and the Patriot Intercollegiate on Sept. 29. The last time the Herd won two team titles was October 1990. Grobe said much of the team’s early success is due to two freshmen, Clark Robinson and Will Evans.
Marshall, a Division I school in Huntington, W.Va., started the season with its home tournament – the Marshall Invitational – and finished seventh at Guyan Golf and Country Club.
“After the seventh-place finish, especially at our home event, I wasn’t expecting too much,” Grobe said.
The season turned around after that. The team posted rounds of 289-288-289 for a three-shot victory at Bowling Green.
Robinson, from South Windsor, Conn., finished 10th after cracking the team lineup for the first time. Teammates Logan Lagodich (T-3) and Brian Anania (T-7) also finished in the top 10 at Bowling Green. At Marshall’s home event, Robinson played as an individual and was runner-up.
Robinson again cracked the lineup for the Patriot Invitational, and this time came out victorious in just his third collegiate event. He fired rounds of 72-72-66 at Laurel Hills Golf Course, host of the 2013 U.S. Public Links Championship, for a one-shot victory.
Robinson’s 66 in the final round is the second-best 18-hole score in school history. He boasts a 70.66 scoring average through three tournaments.
Evans, a native of Charleston, W.Va., had a top-10 finish in his first event and has not placed outside the top 21 since.
“I thought they (the freshmen) would push for playing time,” Grobe said. “I knew they had a lot of ability. I just didn’t know how they would transform from junior golf to collegiate golf because it’s sometimes a hard adjustment.”
The Herd now travel to Cincinnati for the Bearcat Invitational.
The team has high hopes and expectations as it tries to win three straight for the first time in school history.
“The goal is to improve every day,” Grobe said. “We just want to keep playing good golf. We’re excited to get tested at Cincinnati.”