September 23, 2005

Golf Set to Host Cornell Invitational

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After two weekends on the road to open up the season, the members of the golf team are happy to return to their own beds – as they will host the the Cornell Invitational at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course tomorrow and Sunday.

However, sophomore standout Robby Fritz – the only Red player to finish in the top-20 in each of the first two tournaments – will not have that luxury. Instead, Fritz will be spending the weekend at head coach Matt Baughan’s house.

“Coach doesn’t trust me,” Fritz said. “This way he knows I won’t go out.”

The Red is optimistic heading into the weekend’s event, however the team will be facing a very competitive 13-team field, including the winner of last week’s Bucknell Invitational, St. Bonaventure. In addition to the Bonnies, Cornell will battle Bucknell, Lehigh, Rider, and Fordham – the other top-5 finishers from a week ago. Canisius, Colgate, Hofstra, Lafayette, Niagara, Robert Morris, Saint Joseph’s, and Siena will round out the field. The teams will play an 18-hole round tomorrow, followed by a 36-hole finale on Sunday.

The Red opened its season with a fourth-place finish in the Colgate Invitational, with Fritz leading the way with a 5-over 149 in the two-round event. The Red followed that performance up with an 11th place finish at Bucknell.

However, the Red played much better than its 11th place finish might indicate. Sophomore Brett Perry shot a 4-under 66 in the second round. Unfortunately for Perry, his score was disqualified when he signed a scorecard that read the right total score for the round, but had the wrong score on just one hole. As a result, his career-low round was not counted and the team had to use a score more than 10 strokes higher. The error was made due to a miscommunication between Perry and his opponent, as the players recorded different scores.

“It’s one of the dumber rules in golf and it’s screwed over a lot of people, including me,” Perry said.

The disqualification has fueled the Red, as it looks to improve upon last week’s performance. The team feels slighted by the 11th place finished and will look to make a statement to its rivals at its home course.

“The team is frustrated, and this is a good way to turn things around,” Perry said. “We know the course. We play there everyday. Now we’re at home and we want to win.”

Baughan is equally optimistic about his team’s chances this weekend.

“We have the talent. If they play their best golf, I don’t see anyone being able to beat us,” Baughan said.

Despite the less-than-stellar start to the fall season, the Red’s ultimate goal still remains an Ivy League championship. However, league matches will not begin until the spring season, allowing Cornell several months of preparation before trying to upset last year’s winner, Princeton.

“Everyone is gunning for Princeton. That’s what’s standing between us and an Ivy League championship,” Perry said. “The fall is about tournament experience and moving up in the rankings.”

Senior captain Andy Sliwa remains very confident about the Red’s potential for this season.

“We’re pretty embarrassed about our season so far. If we don’t win, we’re disappointed because we’re capable of winning them all,” Sliwa said. “Eventually we will win this season, guaranteed.”

Archived article by Lance Polivy
Sun Contributor