May 2, 1997

Maryland Golf 1997 Wrap-Up

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - In 1997, the University of Maryland men's golf squad developed into one of the rising teams in collegiate golf, and made the nation's top teams take notice.

The Terrapin golfers began the season in Florida at the Mercedes-Benz Invitational and finished 16th out of 19 teams. Maryland, competing against the likes of national powers, Florida State, North Florida and Mississippi State, was tied for ninth after the first day with a round of 300.

Maryland's returned to Florida for its next tournament, as it participated in the Seminole Classic. The Terps had a strong showing there, placing ninth out of 18 teams, and were only eight strokes away from a top-five finish. Gary Mankulish was the top golfer for Maryland, finishing tied for 12th.

After the Seminole Classic, the Terrapins earned their first top-five finish of the season, shooting an 886 to capture fourth out of 24 teams at the Pepsi/Bradford Creek Classic. Robert Bradford was the top golfer for the Terps, finishing with a 222 for the three rounds.

The steadily improving Terps then headed to South Carolina for the Furman Invitational. At Furman, the Terps shot an 885, to finish eighth out of 28 teams. Maryland's Gary Carpenter would be the first Terrapin golfer to earn a top-10 finish this season, shooting 218 for the tournament and finishing tied for eighth place. Carpenter shot a 71, 72 and a 75, respectively, for the three rounds.

The Terrapins would next hit their high point of the season as they traveled to Augusta, Ga., for the Cleveland Golf-Augusta State Invitational. The Terps shot a season-best 867 to capture second place out of 18 teams. Keith Unikel was the story for the Terps, as he shot four-under for the three rounds with a score of 212. Unikel earned third place overall.

The Terps turned their attention toward their most important tournament of the season, the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. After its strong finish at Augusta, Maryland felt it would have a good outing in Atlanta, however the Terps showed the rustiness of a two-week layoff and finished ninth in the nine-team field, with a score of 908. Robert Bilbo was the top golfer for the Terps, shooting a 228 for the weekend and finishing tied for 28th overall.

Maryland concluded the 1997 campaign in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at the Wofford Invitational. After starting off well, the Terps struggled on the final day, shooting a 305 and finishing eighth out of 10 teams with a score of 896. Carpenter was Maryland's top golfer, finishing four-over for the tournament.