September 26, 2006

Golf Team Comes Up Short in Final Round of Tourney

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The United States Ryder Cup squad wasn’t the only golf team disappointed in its performance this weekend. Cornell’s own golf team struggled Sunday and yesterday, finishing seventh at the St. Bonaventure Keenan Invitational Tournament, played at Bartlett Country Club in Orlean, N.Y. The Red finished with a score of 593, good for 33-over par. St. Bonaventure took the tournament title for the second year in a row, posting a total score of 578, 18 over par.

For Cornell, junior Robbie Fritz was the low scorer, shooting a 71 on both days. He ended up tied for third place overall, eight shots off the lead. Fritz was pleased with his two rounds.
[img_assist|nid=18548|title=Tough read|desc=The golf team finished seventh at the St. Bonaventure Keenan Invitational Tournament. (Sun File Photo)|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=68]
“I was happy because I wasn’t hitting the ball that great,” Fritz said. “I got up-and-down from off the green and made a lot of putts.”

As for the rest of the Red, junior Breton Perry finished tied for 24th with a score of 149 over the two days. Freshman Robert Cronheim carded a 151, ending up tied for 39th place. Juniors Chad Bernstein and Austin Lord both shot 153, finishing tied for 45th place. Bernstein was especially upset with his play.

“On a scale of one to 10, I would give myself a four,” Bernstein said. “It was just a lack of commitment. I was feeling well going in the week, but I made a few mistakes here or there. I couldn’t really hit my short irons near the pin.”

Part of the reason for the team’s frustration was that Cornell was in fourth place after Sunday’s first round, nine strokes behind St. Bonaventure. Yesterday’s round was marred by heavy wind and sporadic rain that made the course at Orlean, N.Y. feel like St. Andrews, Scotland.

“The conditions made it difficult to hit the ball close,” Fritz said. “The greens [at Bartlett Country Club] are very small, so when the wind is blowing as hard as it was, it is difficult to hit them. We saw a little wind [yesterday], but Sunday was definitely a lot windier.”

Siena senior Bryan Bigley was apparently unaffected by the weather, as he took first place in the tournament, shooting a scorching 134, six under par. On Sunday, Bigley shot a 64, setting the Siena school record for a round, beating Bigley’s own record of 66, which he set at the 2005 MAAC Tournament. His two day total of 134 also set a new tournament record.

In winning the title, St. Bonaventure received immense help from senior captain Ben Howe. Howe shot a 68 yesteday, including a crucial four under par on the last nine holes to seal the victory for the Bonnies. Those last nine holes ended up making the difference in the tournament, as St. Bonaventure won by just three strokes over Siena College and four strokes over Rider University.

The Keenan Invitational has been played every year since 1989 in the memory of Leo E. Keenan, Jr., who coached golf at St. Bonaventure for twenty years, starting in 1967. Bartlett Country Club is a par 70, 6,400 yard course. Last year, the Red finished fourth in the tournament, which was also won by St. Bonaventure.

Cornell will try and put the disappointment of finishing seventh behind it, as the team looks ahead to a home tournament at next weekend’s Cornell Invitational, won last year by St. Joseph’s.

“We have quite a few new players on the team that haven’t traveled to a ton of tournaments,” Fritz said. “This is my third time playing and their first time, so at least when they are playing at home, they are familiar with the golf course.”