Some players love the fairways and some love the greens, but for junior Kevin Scelfo, the best part of this weekend’s golf tournament is a mattress and pillow.
“Just our own beds,” said Scelfo when asked what the best part of playing at home is. “The best part is being able to sleep in your own bed.”
This weekend, the golf team will play host to several regional rivals on the Robert Trent Jones Course. While rated as one of the best courses in the region, Jones is rarely used; this is Cornell’s first invitational in several years. The rarity of exposure, however, will play to the men’s advantage.
“Cornell has a true championship layout,” said head coach Matt Baughan. “I feel like each individual should feel more comfortable. Realistically they should all do much better. They’re in familiar surroundings now — it should reflect against the rest of the field.”
Sophomore Andy Sliwa, in particular, is poised for an amazing weekend of play. After struggling last season, he broke out and led the team last weekend at the St. Bonaventure Invitational. This weekend, he will shoot as part of the team’s top five.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball well, and I made some changes to my swing,” Sliwa said. “Last year it was so frustrating, and now the game is fun again. That’s really what I attribute to my success.”
Family and friends won’t be surprised if Sliwa continues his recent tear this weekend. As an Owego native, and five-time Southern Tier Athletic Conference All-Star, Sliwa led his high school to two conference championships and three sectional titles. More impressive is the fact that he did most of it on the Jones’ greens.
“The more you play a course, the easier it is,” said Sliwa. “We play every weekend … you have to play 36 holes just for tryouts.”
Scelfo, also known to team members as “pookie,” echoed Sliwa’s sentiments.
“When you go to a course where you don’t know the greens, you’re pretty much screwed,” he said. “We’re looking for a pretty good weekend. We should be the favorites because it’s our own course.”
While Cornell might be teeing off at home for a change, one thing that has remained constant is the team’s preparation. In addition to the usual weekend rounds, the team has been focusing on driving and putting techniques.
“They know the course well enough,” said Baughan. “I’d much rather they be confident with their swings than anything else. If they’re confident with their swings, they’ll be able to take that out on the course.”
So far, the practice has paid off. Cornell finished sixth in its last two invitationals.
“I’m excited about this coming season,” said Baughan. “We’ve already made a little noise in the district, and we’re ready to move up.”
Archived article by Matt Janiga