DADE CITY, Fla. — A single scorecard error changed the outlook of Alex Ehlert’s tournament.
The junior from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) was disqualified after Round Two play at the University of South Florida Invitational on Monday.
Despite his individual error, his primary goal became his team’s success, something he’s long valued.
“It is a stupid mistake and one that all I can do is learn from,” he said Tuesday. “I can still participate in the team score (for) the final round so that is my focus.”
Ehlert helped his team break its collective record on Day One with a 275 score after recording a personal-best 69 in Round One. On the final day, Ehlert recorded another score of 69, helping his team to a third-place finish with a total score of 838.
“That’s the fun thing about college golf: there’s a team aspect to it,” he said Monday after second-round play at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City, Fla. “We’ve kind of struggled the last couple of years since I’ve been here with a lot of inconsistent play. For us to come out and do what we did (Sunday) was a big deal.”
The team played in the Puerto Rico Classic in late February and its rank of nine out of 15, while not satisfactory to him, told Ehlert about the nature of his team.
“We had a lot of good individual scores,” he said. “It felt like we could play with (the top ranked teams). When we’re playing well, we can play with just about anybody.
“When you play with good players, it helps you as a team.”
Golfers often play their rounds on their own with perhaps only their caddy providing another perspective, but college golfers are accompanied by a coach. As Ehlert balances his individual output with teammates, so does he share the field with coach Terrance Stewart.
“It’s really helpful to have a second opinion,” he said before adding a caveat. “No one knows my game as well as I do. When I’m playing well I like to be left alone for the most part.”
That was the case on Day Two. Ehlert received less coaching than his rivals in the threesome he was in.
Stewart has a record of success with freshman, with UNCG being included on the SoCon (Southern Conference) All-Freshman team every year since its inception in 2009. In 2012, Ehlert made that team.
“He’s very good at saying, ‘If you come in as a freshman, you have the chance to play’,” said Ehlert. “He’s big on getting the freshman into experience quickly.”
Ehlert said he sees Stewart having success with this year’s freshman, Carter Jenkins. In Puerto Rico, Jenkins improved on his first round score by 16 strokes, a feat recognized by his teammates.
“He’s a very confident player,” said Ehlert. “He’s great at coming back from bad rounds. It’s pretty impressive.”
Despite his disqualification, Ehlert said he is encouraged, both for himself and the rest at UNCG.
“Hopefully it carries over to the rest of the year.”