Second place in anything is pretty good. When it’s a sporting event of national caliber, it’s an even more noteworthy accomplishment.
But for the University of Redlands golf team it has to be getting a bit old.
The Bulldogs just returned from the Division III national tournament in Braselton, Ga., where they placed second, only three strokes behind champion St. John’s (Minn.). Not bad for a team that needed an at-large bid just to get into the tournament.
But coach Art Salvesen’s team has been there – done that.
Redlands qualified for the event in 2004 and it finished second.
It returned the following year – and finished second.
Then it went back again in 2006. Yup! It finished second.
The runner-up label was spared for a year as the Bulldogs did not qualify in 2007.
But of those finishes this second-place has to be hardest take. The first two times the Bulldogs were far enough back after the first day that second-place was all they could have hoped for.
This year they started the final round, only four shots behind then-leader St. John Fisher. Playing in the same group with that opponent, they made up those strokes early and led most of the final round, only to falter on the last three holes when it was within their grasp.
St. John’s, playing in front of the Bulldogs, had a final round 291.
The Bulldogs will likely be back again next year since they didn’t have a senior on their talented squad. Here’s to hoping they can land that long-awaited title.
Another ironic twist is that last year, the one in which the Bulldogs sat out, local rival La Verne went to nationals and they too finished second. That gives the SCIAC five straight second-place finishes at the national event.