September 23, 2003

Golf Ties for Sixth

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After the first day of the Keenan Invitational Golf Tournament at St. Bonaventure the men’s golf team found themselves in eleventh place — fourteen shots off the lead. The lone brightspot was a two over par, 72 turned in by sophomore phenom Andy Sliwa. Dispirited, the Red could have easily given up. In fact, history would seem to point to this result — a poor first day leads to a terrible second day. But Cornell has a new attitude.

“We were a much better team then we showed on Sunday,” said Kevin Scelfo, a junior standout, “We knew we would do better.”

Inspired and confident the Red turned it around. Kevin Scelfo shot a blistering 73 improving by four strokes from the day before. Justin Howe, who turned in a disappointing 79, came back to shoot a remarkable 74. After shooting a forgettable 80 on Sunday, Chris Roglski carded a solid 76. The only player not to improve was Andy Sliwa who fell back to earth and shot a mortal 79.

The Red’s second day total of 301 was the fourth-lowest for the day and it shot a combined, two-day total of 609 placing the team 6th.

Amazingly, the success came under deteriorating weather conditions.

“The wind made it tough today,” said Scelfo, “The course is pretty wide open and shorter than ours, but the greens are very severe. They’re lots of tough pin locations.”

Coach Matt Baughan credited better concentration for the improvements and as a key to future success.

“The players lose their concentration,” Baughan said. “They get tense and then don’t execute. Our team is very young. We need to learn to minimize our mistakes. Golf is a very mental game and one bad swing can cost you two or three shots.”

On Sunday, the Red lost 10 shots on the last three holes of the course dropping them out of contention. Yesterday the team committed only minor mental lapses and were able to recover from poor shots.

The best is yet to come for the Red. Coach Baughan has built the team into a formidable force and a threat to win the Ivy League.

“Players want to succeed. They care about playing well. They feel bad about not playing well. For the longest time our players didn’t care about playing well,” he said.

The Red will play at home this weekend and are ready to prove themselves.

“We can’t wait,” said Scelfo, “We only play at home once every twice or three years. We’re looking forward to playing a course we know like the back of our hands.”

Archived article by James Rich