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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Spina drives to top of Dartmouth Invitational leaderboard

Spina drives the ball at the Dartmouth Invitational. PHOTO: ST. JOE’S ATHLETICS

On Sept. 25, fifth-year student J.T. Spina received his first medalist honors for his college career at the Dartmouth Invitational.

Spina finished the opening round of the tournament tied for second place at one shot under par. He shot 69 on Sunday, finishing three shots under par for the tournament’s final round. Spina’s performance also earned him the title of Atlantic-10 (A-10) Golfer of the Week. 

According to Spina, the fact that this is his final year playing for St. Joe’s has been a motivating factor in his performance this season. 

“Before last week, I was not sure if I was ever going to win,” Spina said. “I came out and I felt comfortable. I was ready for it.”

During his time at St. Joe’s, Spina has seen himself grow as an athlete. He said he could not imagine capturing a win like this when he started his collegiate career. 

“I really matured a lot. I started getting the ball longer,” Spina said. “I stayed focused and kept working on my game.” 

Head Coach Bob Lynch has been coaching Spina throughout his entire career  at St. Joe’s, and credits Spina’s physical growth as a factor in his improvement as well.

“Physically he hits the ball a lot further than he did when he came in,” Lynch said. “Results are starting to show up.”

Spina said he has been working on the basic foundation of his game and has seen that benefit him during the tournament. 

“In golfing, repeatability is a huge thing,” Spina said.  “I’ve been really working on a really repeatable move that can hold off under pressure

Lynch believes that Spina has a complete game and that was shown in his results. 

“He has been knocking on the door several times,” Lynch said. “It is good to see that he finally broke through and got a win.”

Sophomore Thomas Larkin credits Spina’s ability to motivate the rest of the team with his individual success as a sign of Spina’s leadership skills. 

“What makes us work hard is seeing how hard he works and how well he does that,” Larkin said. “That makes all of us feel like we need to be up to his standards.”

Spina values the team aspect of the sport even when competing. He said his teammates were rooting for him during the tournament. 

“Everyone’s just been really supportive,” Spina said.  “I think this has a chance to be the best team I’ve been on since I’ve been at St. Joe’s” 

Spina said he hopes his win will encourage the rest of the team to pull out a few team wins this season. 

“A lot of it is team motivated,” Spina said. “We drive off each other.”

With one win under Spina’s belt, Lynch believes it is a step toward Spina being able to repeat the process a few more times this season. 

“He has got all the tools,” Lynch said. “Why not just go out each tournament with the idea that he can win?”

Spina’s hopes for this season extend beyond winning a few more tournaments. According to Spina, he wants to get a bid into the NCAA Championship. 

“No one at St. Joe’s has done that,” Spina said. “I want to be the first.”

Larkin said that despite Spina’s light-hearted nature off the course, he is always locked in when it comes to competing. 

“He’s got a lot of humility,” Larkin said.  “On the course, he’s a killer.”

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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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