Svoboda Above All in Fall

Outstanding.

That’s the word men’s golf Head Coach Frank Darby used to describe Andrew Svoboda’s fall season.

“He’s been pretty much the same throughout all four years, but he’s gotten to the next level,” Darby said.

The senior wrapped up the fall schedule last week with four individual titles and two top 10 finishes in six tournaments this year.

Averaging 69.81 per round, Svoboda has shot even or under par in 11 of 16 rounds and leads the team in average strokes-off-lead (1.3), top-5 (4), top-10 (6) and top-20 (6) finishes.

The Connecticut native also earned national recognition, ranked 24th in the country by golfstat.com.

“It was probably the best season I have had so far at St. John’s,” Svoboda said. “I was pretty happy with how I played in every event.”

Svoboda opened the season by winning the Macdonald Cup on Sept. 14-15. He shot three-over, but was able to win by three strokes in the competition.

Svoboda struggled early at the James Madison Classic on Sept. 21-22, shooting a first round 75. But he came back with two strong rounds, carding a five-under par 66 and a three-under 68, to finish the tournament tied for eighth place.

In the next three tournaments, Svoboda would go undefeated. His most impressive victory came at the McLaughlin on Sept. 27-28, amidst Hurricane Isadore.

In the opening round of the shortened event, Svoboda shot a 29 on the front nine en route to a six-under 64, the lowest round in school history. Svoboda won the tournament by four strokes.

“It is the most memorable round I have had here at St. John’s,” he said. “We played as a team that tournament, which we don’t normally do. I shot 29 on the front, with all my teammates there so it was just a nice to have them there while I was playing so well.”

At the Wolverine Invitational, held at the University of Michigan on Oct. 5-6, Svoboda shot an opening round three-over par 73, but battled back to force a playoff round with tournament leader Ryan Swelin of the University of Miami.

Playing on the par four 18th hole, the pair both made par the first time through, forcing a second sudden death. After Swelin made bogey, Svoboda missed his birdie putt but sunk his putt for par and the win.

Svoboda’s last title came at The Tillinghast, held Oct. 21-23 at Quaker Ridge Golf Course, in Scarsdale, N.Y.

Svoboda carded an opening round 68 for a share of the lead. In the second round he shot a two-over par 71, but pulled out the victory.

Svoboda finished the fall schedule with a ninth place finish at the Baylor Invitational on Oct. 28-29.

Svoboda’s first round five-under 67 was only good enough for a share of fourth place, although he was only one stroke behind the leaders. Svoboda finished the tournament tied for ninth with a three-under par 213.

“It was a good event. It was just a stronger field than our normal events,” he said.

Svoboda said his approach to the season hadn’t really changed from previous years.

“I had a lot of confidence coming into the season,” he said. “My goal this year was to try to win or place in the top five as much as I could in all of our events.”

Darby said that qualifying for the last two U.S. Amateur tournaments has helped his confidence.

“He got exposed to a lot of the great players in the country and he realized he could play with them,” he said.

Svoboda is already looking to the spring and hopes he can continue to play at this caliber.

“You never know with golf,” he said. “But I’m going to work hard this off-season and try my best and see what happens, that’s all you can do.”