At a rain-soaked University Ridge, junior Kevin Tassistro led the way for the Badger Men’s Golf team, which finished in a sixth-place tie at the 2003 Badger Invitational this past weekend. Tassistro’s score of 75-73-148 was good for a sixth-place tie in the rain-shortened event.

The biggest story of the tournament was the poor weather conditions that led to suspended play both Friday and Saturday and shortened the event from 54 holes to 36 holes. The Badgers struggled to play through the heavy rains, finishing the first round in eighth place out of the nine teams in the field.

Coach Jim Schuman thought the weather did play a major role in the team’s slow start and the level of play all weekend.

“It was wet and tough to play,” Schuman said. “But we were happy to get 36 holes in.”

Schuman did note that while many of the players struggled, there were still many good performances turned in.

“A 140 (low score in the tournament) on the men’s side is a strong performance at any tournament, especially in these conditions.”

The Badgers seemed to figure out the weather as they shot eight strokes better in the second round of the tournament. The improvement helped the team slip into a sixth-place tie with West Florida at 605. UNC-Wilmington also made the most of the second round as they made the late charge to win the tournament with a 295-290-585.

First-round leaders Purdue (290-301-591) fell to fourth place, while Kansas State (294-294-588) and Michigan State (301-289-590) finished second and third, respectively. Lamar (300-298-598) finished seven strokes ahead of the Badgers in fifth place, while Arkansas-Little Rock (305-306-611) and Iowa (308-308-616) rounded out the field of nine.

Individually, Tassistro paced the UW with a 148. After a quick start, Tassistro bogeyed five of the last 10 holes to finish the first round in 14th place with a 75.

In the second round, the Badger junior shot a one over 73 to move up on the leader board and finish in a sixth-place tie.

The Badgers also had strong performances from a pair of freshmen, as Ryan Conn and Garrett Jones made their Badger debuts. Conn’s 152 was good for 25th place, while Jones finished tied for 31st with teammate Dylan Esterling at 154.

“They (Conn and Jones) showed a lot of good things, and there is a lot there to build on,” Shuman said.

Senior Brian Brodell rounded out the UW’s scores with a 156, good for 35th place. Despite a performance that was most unlike him, look for Brodell to put up far more impressive numbers in future events. As the lone senior, the Badgers will rely on him to improve on his 76 scoring average from last season and again be one of the team’s scoring leaders as he was last season.

Craig Revell led all golfers with a four under par 140 (70-70), three strokes ahead of UNC-Wilmington’s Derek Brown (73-70) and Kansas State’s Aaron Watkins (70-73) who each shot a one under (143). First-round leader, Purdue’s Shiv Kapur, shot a low round of 69 but finished in fourth after a second-round 75. Josh Persons (72-72) of Kansas State also finished tied for fourth with a 144. Purdue’s Peter Richardson (74-74) and UNC-Wilmington’s Marc-Andre Roy (76-72) ended tied with Tassistro in sixth place.

The Badger’s will next travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to compete in the Northern Intercollegiate.

“This is a real strong field, seven or eight of the Big Ten schools will be there, and this is going to be a measuring stick to see how we stack up against them (Big Ten opponents),” Shuman said.

The fall season will also include the Xavier Invitational as well as the UNC-Wilmington Landfall Tradition. The fall schedule will give the first-year coach a chance to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of his team before the more demanding spring schedule. With a lot of youth and inexperience, these fall tournaments will play a crucial role in helping the Badgers and Coach Schuman develop into one of the top teams in the Big Ten.