Currently in the midst of one of its most successful seasons in recent history, the Cornell men’s golf team will hope to further cement its status as a legitimate Ivy League championship contender in the upcoming Connecticut Cup.
“We’ve been having a terrific year so far, and this year’s team is the best one I’ve played with at Cornell,” said junior Christopher Troy. “We definitely have a chance to win the [Ivy League] this year as long as we stick to our game and keep improving like we’ve been doing all season.”
The Red’s confidence in its ability to win its first ever Ivy League title is not unwarranted, as the team has now finished in the top three in each of its three tournaments to date. However, Cornell has been careful to prevent its recent success from causing overconfidence going into its last tournament of the fall season.
“Our confidence is high right now, but it’s definitely important … to keep ourselves modest,” Troy said. “We’re hungry and we definitely want to win, and we just have to continue practicing, fine tuning our game, and prepare for … the [chance] to [win] the Ivy League championship.”
Along with the daily practices and drills, the Red has recently started playing in inter-squad tournaments. Splitting the team into domestic and international players, the competitions help foster friendly internal competition and prevent apathetic attitudes going into tournaments.
“Recently, we did a [mock] Ryder Cup within our team,” said sophomore (Jack) Tianyi Cen. “It really helped keep us in a competitive mood, and also helped us shoot and refocus our game over the weekend.”
As it does to prepare for any tournament, the team is also researching the course for the Connecticut Cup. This will be particularly important for the upcoming competition given the team’s unfamiliarity with the layout of the course.
“None of us have played the course before so it’ll be a new course for all of us,” Cen said. “We just need to adapt to the course quickly so we can put up low numbers.”
To research, the team primarily studies Google Maps. By examining the layout of the land, the team can determine the course’s water hazards, bunkers, green size, and wind charts. For the upcoming Connecticut Cup, the Red has taken a special focus to the course’s trees.
“The course is tree lined in some areas, so day to day depending on how you’re hitting your driver, you may hit more drivers or less drivers,” said senior captain Luke Graboyes. “You can also hit irons off the tee to keep it in play … so even though the trees are super strict here, it’s good to know there’ll be options when hitting the trees.”
While Google Maps provides the team with a wealth of knowledge heading into an unfamiliar course, some aspects of the course will still remain a mystery until players physically step onto it. The unknown includes the elevation of the course, which Google Maps does not provide information for.
“We don’t know particularly about the hills of the course,” Graboyes said. “We look at it on Google Maps and every course looks flat on Google Maps unless there’s some ridiculous incline you knew of previously, but that’s just something we’ll have to adjust for when we go.”
Looking forward, the Connecticut Cup will not only be a chance for the Red to cap off its fall season with another top finish, but it will also be a way to pinpoint areas of improvement heading into the winter.
“I think [the Connecticut Cup] will set the tone for winter preparation, especially regarding bad habits,” Graboyes said. “It’s a last reminder for something like ‘I didn’t putt the ball very well and that’s something that I have to get ready come March when we really start competing for that [Ivy League] title.’”
Cornell is scheduled to participate in the Connecticut Cup from next Monday, Oct. 10 through Tuesday, Oct. 11.