Golf player exceeds expectations

Eric Downs has led the men’s golf team, staying competitive with ivy elite

By Patrick Varney |
Photo by John Jordan

PHOTO CAPTION: Flagler recently competed in the Shark Invitational where despite rainy conditions and several postponments the team faired well against larger schools like Rutgers.

The Flagler men’s golf team traveled to New Haven, Conn. this past weekend to play in the MacDonald Cup at the Yale Golf Course.

Flagler tied for sixth overall with Harvard University while their star player, Eric Downs, placed fourth.

Downs, a junior from West Palm Beach, has been a standout this year placing well amongst Ivy League schools like Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale.

“It was a fun course that was very different than most I’ve played on,” said Downs.

“It had a lot of woods and it was really cold out. It was a good experience because of the prestigious teams I played against. They offered good competition on one of the best courses I’ve ever played.”

During summer play on Aug. 17-19, Downs played in the prestigious Gate Open on the Ponte Verda Inn & Club Ocean Course.

After three rounds of play Downs was tied for first with 211 strokes, but was defeated in the sudden death round to Jacksonville’s Josh Kinsey.

“The Gate course I played well and I didn’t make too many errors hitting most of the greens and fairways,” said Downs.

On Sept. 14 Flagler played in the Platinum Coast Invitational at the Rockledge Country Club.

Downs again played exceptional and tied for fourth. “I won this tournament last year,” said Downs.

This past weekend, however, was where Downs shined and led the field.

“It was great having the lead after the first 36 holes,” he said.

In his first day of play he scored nine birdies and one eagle, shooting a 67 and a 69.

After the third round of play, he finished the tournament shooting a 77 recording a score of 7-over par.

“I hit my driver all over the place, but it came into focus and I started hitting better,” he said.

“I’m not a big fan of the course, but I can play it well.”

Flagler’s next tournament, the Shark Invitational on Oct. 13 and 14 at the PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, was affected by unpredictable weather and was shortened due to rain.

The second round of the tounrament was cancelled and the format was changed to a 36-hole event.

Flagler heads next Ocoee at the Lake Forest Golf Course for the Rollins College Invitational.

Flagler hopes it will be a big weekend for Downs and the rest of the men’s golf team, weather permitting.

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