September 13, 2004

Golf Places 2nd

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In an auspicious start to what promises to be an exciting season, the golf team took second place in the Colgate Invitational Tournament, played in Hamilton, N.Y,. on the Seven Oak’s Golf Course. The Red bested district rivals Binghamton and Central Connecticut, as well as 16 other squads, but fell just four shots short of Bucknell, which took the top spot.

The Red had a combined score of 603, shooting 301 and 302 on Saturday and yesterday, respectively. Bucknell shot 597 total, behind freshman Charlie Waddell’s first-round 72. Day one’s score of 301 reflected the balance and depth of the squad. The Red was led by one of its own freshman phenoms, Chad Bernstein, who shot a three-over-par 75, good enough for fifth place on the day. Bernstein’s 75 balanced out senior captain Kevin Scelfo’s 82, which he described as, “One of my worst collegiate performances ever.”

However, Scelfo’s score did not represent his overall round of golf. With the exception of two balls that he hit past the green and into the lake, Scelfo played with his usual consistency off of the tee and on the fairway. On the second day of the tournament, Scelfo returned to his usual self, shooting a one-over-par 73.

“I just didn’t do anything stupid on Sunday,” he said. “I hit three bad shots [on Saturday] that cost me, and on Sunday I just kept it down the middle. I knew that the team needed me to play better.”

On the second day of competition, the Red continued its consistent play. Bernstein and freshman teammate Robbie Fritz each shot a 76, in addition to Scelfo’s 73 and senior Billy Grover’s 77. Bernstein’s combined score of 149 earned him a tie for eight place overall in the tournament.

The second day also saw the Red fend off charges from both Rider and Binghamton, who finished with scores of 604 and 605, respectively. The outcome of the tournament seemed to be in doubt until the very end, when Grover birdied the par-four final hole.

“Just hanging on at the end was tough,” said head coach Matt Baughan. “Everyone came up big though, especially Billy on the final hole, which I think was the hardest one on the course.”

Despite its consistent play overall, the Red did have one glaring weakness — putting.

“Our whole team had severe hardships on the greens,” Scelfo said. “We couldn’t make anything. On our iron shots and drives we did really well, but once we got on the green we just couldn’t put it in the hole.”

Bernstein agreed. “Golf’s a funny sport, because you can’t collectively work together to fix something,” he said. “Everyone has something in their game that they need to work on, and a bunch of us need to work on our putting.”

However, while the squad may be experiencing putting woes, overall they are a very consistent group, and that has become their hallmark.

“We started off Sunday’s round slowly, but we played consistent golf from that point on, which prevented schools from catching up.”

“We are all about consistency,” Scelfo added. “We don’t shoot under par for the most part, and we don’t usually shoot way over par. We are even all around.”

Next weekend the squad will be traveling to Lewisburg, Pa., to play Bucknell on its home course. While the Red will no doubt be looking for revenge, the team recognizes that its ultimate competition is within the Ivy League, and that even being able to compete with the Bucknell squad signifies what could be a major turnaround in the Ivy League this year. Scelfo said that he feels Bucknell is better than all of the other schools in the Ivies, and that they provide the Red with a good test of their skills; however, if the Red truly wants to compete with the upper level squads both in and out of the Ivy League, they will have to learn to finish strong and not let up on the final holes.

“It’s not a one-round event,” Baughan said. “If you’re playing two rounds you need to play every hole and finish until the last putt falls. Our ultimate goal is the Ivy championship, and we won’t stop until we get it.”

Archived article by Jacob Lieberman
Sun Contributor