Saturday afternoon the Cornell men’s golf team piled into a van and headed home from the Towson Invitational with dissapointment clouding its mind.
“We had so many wasted shots on the putting green,” said senior co-capitain Andy Sliwa. “We counted up all our three putts, four putts, and wasted shots, and we had 12 whole strokes. When you look at the log jam we ended up in, that’s a huge difference.”
Sunday afternoon, the team piled into the van again, except this time, satisfaction permiated the atmosphere. The Red had done all they could to make up that 12 stroke difference. It had come out and shot the third lowest score of the day among a 22 team field, vaulting them from 18th to 14th. In an ironic twist, the Red shot exactly 12 shots better than the day before.
“Sunday we had virtually no three putts, and not one four putt,” Sliwa said. “We didn’t throw away shots on the putting green like on Saturday. We definitely left on a positive note.”
More importantly, the team shot better on Sunday than every other Ivy League opponent except Princeton, who tied the Red’s final day score of 291. Despite its first round 303, the Red still only finished eight shots off Columbia’s pace, which at 8th, was the highest placing of any Ancient Eight school.
“The good news is that none of the Ivies took it away,” said sophomore Robbie Fritz. “If you think about it, we just needed to each shoot half a shot better. The second round showed us that we can compete with Princeton, and we already know we can beat Yale and Columbia. In fact, that was the first time that Yale has finished in front of us in two years.”
What it really came down to, though, was putting.
Even for Fritz, who led the Red with back to back scores of 71 and 73, good for par and 13th overall, putting was a problem down the stretch.
“I was a little dissapointed on Sunday,” Fritz said. “I had lots of opportunities on the last four holes, and if I had just made a few putts I could have played those holes at four under. Instead, I played them at one over. Overall, though, I felt I hit the ball well. Those last four holes are just typical of not playing in a tourney in a long time. It might have been mental or simply me being tired, I don’t know.”
Hot on Fritz’s heels was fellow sophomore Bret Perry, whose two day total of 147, which included a seven shot improvement on Sunday, earned him 39th. Not to be outdone, Sliwa also dropped his score by seven strokes for a total of 151, putting him in the 66th overall slot.
“I hit the ball great [Sunday],” Sliwa said. “It’s the first great golf I’ve played in a long time. I’m still getting my distances down, though. I’m still guessing a little bit out there. Over the next few weeks, though, what’s going to be important is putting.”
Four shots down the list was junior Greg Peterson who finished 93rd. Peterson expressed regret about not shooting better on Sunday.
“Bret [Perry], Andy [Sliwa] and Rob [Fritz] really stepped it up for us on Sunday,” Peterson said. “I just felt my putting was not very good. I just need to get a little touch back. Golf goes in cycles, and if your playing at your best, it’s hard to beat you. With Columbia, Princeton, Yale and us all with the ability to win the Ivies, we have to make sure we peak at the right time. [Senior] Andrew [Turker] played well in the first round Saturday with some tough conditions. We’re going to keep needing that fourth score, so he will be very important for us.”
Although the Red finished 18 shots behind the champion Spiders from the University of Richmond, the fact remains that the important opponents were those from the Ancient Eight. This competition will be magnified next weekend when the team travels to New Haven, Conn., for the Yale Invitational.
Archived article by Cory Bennett
Sun Staff Writer