It wasn’t exactly George Mason over UConn, but the Cornell men’s golf team was on their way to an upset of sorts against an accomplished Binghamton squad before they were taken out by a unexpected foe – darkness.
The match was just a scrimmage but it was quite a telling sign for the Red, who had just arrived in Orlando, Fla. Even though the Bearcats had been training for a week and were looking to build off last year’s America East Championship, Cornell was the team that got off to a good start in pursuit of topping last spring’s success.
Last year, the Red lost by one stroke to Rider in their Spring Break scrimmage. While this year’s win was not official, with the match being called as the sun slipped down past the western horizon, sophomore Robbie Fritz said everyone is fairly sure the Red won, and won big.
“We all got together with [head] coach [Matt Baughn] and talked about calling the match,” Fritz said. “We noticed we were mostly beating our opponents, so if we had finished off all our rounds, we definitely would have won. I think we would have beat them pretty good, too. It was a fairly wide margin. The only downside was that not all of us got to finish our rounds, which was frustrating.”
Fritz was especially dissapointed as he had begun the back nine with a birdie, eagle, and hole-in-one, which he called the highlight of his week, on the 212-yard 11th hole before the match was called. The scrimmage, however, was the just the start of a week that was very productive for the Red, which was able to pin point things to work on in their games.
“I thought I hit worse on the first day,” Fritz said. “But by the end of the week I felt like I was almost back to where I was in the fall. I really targeted my short game, particularly 40 and 50-yard shots, to work on. When you don’t play for a while, it’s those quarter and half swing shots that are tough to get the feel for. I had my sand wedge out a lot, and was working on those.”
While the trend for the golfers was consistent improvement thoughout the week after some rustiness against Binghamton, coming into the match cold hurt sophomore Chad Bernstein.
“I got better all week, but I just shot terribly against Binghamton,” Bernstein said. “It was my first time playing in a month and a half, and I just wasn’t consistent. Once I can get the the ball in the fairway off the tee, my short game’s fine and I can make some putts. Right now though, distance isn’t a problem, but accuracy and consistency on my drives is. I hit it better each day, though.”
While the Red got in plently of work off the tee and around the fairways, the Bermuda grass in Florida made it difficult for the players to judge the progress made on their putting games.
“Bermuda grass is much granier than the grass we play on everywhere else,” Fritz explained. “So even though I brought a couple of putters, my putting game is definitely still a work in progress. No one could tell how their putting work last week [in Florida] will hold up in Ithaca.”
As classes start back up, the real test begins for the Red, which travels to Towson, Md., next weekend to compete in the Towson Invitational, where it will face more familiar Ivy foes.
Archived article by Cory Bennett
Sun Staff Writer