Looking back over his four years on the Cornell golf team, senior Kevin Scelfo said that the catalyst for this year’s success was that the Red was playing to win — not just to keep itself out of last place.
This attitude made all the difference at the Ivy League championships in Hamburg, N.J., this past weekend. The Red used a score of 291 in the last round to jump to second place in the final standings — the best finish for a Cornell squad since 1980, when the Red also finished as the runner-up. Freshman Robbie Fritz added to the success of the weekend by becoming the first Cornell rookie to earn All-Ivy honors with his sixth-place showing.
“Honestly, we were playing for something. In the past, we were playing not to finish last,” Scelfo said. “Now we were playing to win … because of that we concentrated a little more.”
After three rounds of play, the Red finished with an overall score of 893, just ahead of Penn (894) and Columbia (895). Princeton took the championship home for the fifth time in the past six years. The Tigers’ final score was 862, 2-under for the par-72 course.
The Red came through the first round with a total score of 300, with Scelfo, Fritz, and freshman Bret Perry all within two shots of par. Fritz came through the second round with a total score of 147, putting him in fifth place overall. Scelfo was close behind with a 150.
At the end of the day, the Red was in fourth-place overall, 19 strokes behind the Tigers. Penn held the second-place position, but was only five strokes ahead of the Red. The margin between third and fourth was even closer, with Columbia holding a slim, two-stroke lead on Cornell.
“The first day we played slightly tentatively,” Scelfo said. “[But Sunday] we knew how close we were and we knew how much this one meant.”
With nothing to lose, the Red came out strong on Sunday, with all five individuals saving their best score for the last day. Fritz led the way with an even-par 72, which gave him a final score of 219 (+3), a tie for sixth-place overall, and All-Ivy honors. Scelfo — the runner-up in last year’s Ivy championships — shot 73 on Sunday, good for a 223 (+7) and a ninth-place finish overall. Perry helped the team’s cause with a 1-over 73 in the last round, finishing in 15th place with a score of 225 (+9). Junior Andrew Tucker and Senior Billy Grover finished 28th and 31st, respectively.
“Obviously, our two freshmen really brought a lot to the team. They’re both so consistent,” Scelfo said. “And myself and Andrew have been playing great this year. It gives us a different feeling going out there. It’s a great tournament to go out on. It’s nice to be leaving the team in good hands.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor