Tartan golf team takes third at UAAs; Timmons wins individual title

During Spring Carnival, while many Carnegie Mellon students were cruising Midway for booths, bands, and funnel cake, the men’s golf team traveled to Orlando, Fla., where they competed in the University Athletic Association (UAA) championships. That’s right — they missed Carnival.

“I [missed Carnival] freshman year and this year as well,” sophomore golfer Alex Timmons said. “I got to see Buggy on Friday morning — then we left at 1:30 [p.m.]. We got back Sunday night.”

A small price to pay for a chance to compete in the UAA championships; “It’s probably our biggest tournament of the year,” Timmons said. The championships were held in Orlando at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge.

Last Sunday, on the first day of play, the Tartans shot a 298, the team’s lowest score in the championship round. The men finished up on Monday, shooting 311 and winning third place with a total of 609.

Emory won the tournament with 591 strokes, and New York University took second place with 602. Finishing fourth and fifth were Rochester and Brandeis, totaling 635 and 643, respectively.

“Emory’s always [at the UAAs]; they’re in our conference.” Timmons said. “They’re in the top 10 in the nation, so they’re always the big dogs we’re looking out for.”

In the first day of competition, Timmons shot a 70, two strokes under par. This was Timmons’s best round of golf in his two years as a Carnegie Mellon athlete, and it earned him the title of UAA individual champion. He went on to score a 73 on the second day of competition, winning the championship with a combined score of 143, one stroke under par.
“There’s always the dream of playing professionally,” Timmons said. “Winning this tournament’s kind of sparked another interest — pursuing a mini tour or something like that.”
Also playing for the Tartans, junior Howard Smith tied for fifth place with a total of 148 strokes.

Smith fired a 76 on the first day of the championships. He finished up the second day at par with a 72, the best round of his collegiate career since transferring to Carnegie Mellon last year from American University.

As a result of their performances, Smith and Timmons made the All-UAA first team. They are the fifth and sixth Tartans to be named to the team, in addition to being the first pair of Carnegie Mellon golfers to receive the title in the same year.

Sophomore Joshua Chen came in 14th in the championships with a total of 157. First-year Christopher Lee tallied a total of 161 strokes, and junior Blake Darby shot a 173.
“We had a great time in Florida,” Smith said. “This season’s been up and down. Honestly, we’d like to finish strong.”

Overall, the team is working toward a ticket to the NCAA golf championships. “The major goal for our team is to make it to nationals,” Timmons said. “Looks like we’re not going to make it this year, but hopefully next year we’ll make it.”

None of the starting five Tartan golfers are seniors, so the core of the team will continue to play in next year’s season. “We’re actually a pretty young team,” Smith said.