September 22, 2006

Golf Looks to Earn Results, Heads to Leo Keenan Invitational

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This weekend, the golf team will hit the links at Bartlett Country Club as it participates in the 18th annual Leo Keenan Invitational. It will be the golf team’s second tournament of the year, after tying for sixth place in the Colgate Invitational two weeks ago.

Last year, Cornell placed fourth in the Keenan Invitational. Each of the Red’s three strongest contributors from the 2005 event will once again compete. In last year’s tournament, current junior Robbie Fritz shot consecutive 73s to tie for the 10th best individual score.

“I don’t think I played great,” Fritz said. “If you’re playing reasonably well, it’s not a difficult course to score well on. It’s a short course, and I’m not a particularly long hitter, so short courses usually play to my strengths.”

Classmates Chad Bernstein and Bret Perry also scored well last year. Bernstein tallied scores of 73 and 74 to tie for 22nd place, while Perry scored 75 and 73 to tie for 25th.

The team also used an opening round 74 from senior Greg Peterson and a second round score of 73 from Andy Sliwa ’06 to accumulate a team score of 588 for the tournament. Host St. Bonaventure won the tournament in a playoff, as both it and Drexel finished tied for the lead with 575 strokes.

Replacing Peterson and Sliwa at this year’s tournament will be freshman Rob Cronheim and junior Austin Lord. At the Colgate Invitational, Cronheim posted scores of 76 and 81. He was not happy with the results and looks to improve this weekend.

“I just didn’t play well,” Cronheim said. “I’ve focused more on playing [courses] as opposed to just practicing on the range this week. I really played well in practice.”

He claims that the transition from high-school competition did not contribute to his disappointing performance in his first collegiate tournament.

“The golf courses are a little longer and a little tougher. That’s it,” Cronheim said. “I don’t worry about my score. I just play as well as I know I can and try to help the team.”

Senior Rance Barber will also make the trip to St. Bonaventure, although he will be competing as an individual, and his scores will not contribute to the team.

Last year’s top Cornell performer, Fritz, hopes to lead the charge again this year.

“I’d like to win every tournament I play in, both individually and as a team,” he said. “I’ve been practicing and working hard on my putting and iron play.”

If Cronheim and Horn play well for the Red this weekend, Bernstein feels it will only take minimal improvement on last year’s scores from Fritz, Perry, and himself for the team to be in contention to win the tournament.

“If everyone plays well, we will win,” Bernstein said.