Avid golf fans rejoice; the opportunity Cornellians have been waiting for has arrived. This weekend, the Red will participate in the Cornell Invitational, providing the only chance Cornell students have to watch their beloved golf team in action without leaving the friendly confines of Ithaca.
The 54-hole competition will be held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, the home course for the Red. As part of being the host school, Cornell’s 10-man golf team will split into two five-man teams for the tournament.
In last year’s tournament, the Red’s A team finished eighth among 15 teams, highlighted by the Red’s second-round score of 294, which was the lowest in the field. Junior Robbie Fritz led the way for the Red, improving on his third-place finish in 2004 by posting consecutive scores of 70 in the second and third rounds, en route to the second-best individual score for the weekend.
“I should hope so,” Fritz said of his own chance to win the tournament this year. “The greens here are the best. They are significantly faster than any of the other courses we play, and fast greens usually play to my advantage. Also, since it’s a home tournament, I obviously know the course very well. … Whenever playing at a home venue, there is added pressure. … I tend to go out relaxed, so a little pressure is good. I should be especially focused.”
This year, Fritz will be joined on the A squad by fellow juniors Chad Bernstein, Austin Lord and Bret Perry, along with freshman Rob Cronheim. The B team will include seniors Rance Barber and Greg Peterson, sophomore Ross Thompson, and freshmen Neil Jehle and Christian Karrer.
“The purpose of having two teams is to give the guys on the B team some experience,” Perry said. “For the most part, those guys are not the guys who travel with the team so this will give them a chance to compete.”
Last year’s B team tied for 12th in the tournament. Expectations are high for both squads, as they look to take advantage of playing on their home course.
“The advantages include that you get to sleep in your own bed and you know the golf course,” Cronheim said. “It makes you feel more comfortable and knowing the course gives you confidence in knowing where you need to hit the ball.”
“We play [the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course] five or six times a week, so we know it really well,” Perry said. “All week, we’ve been seeing how they are preparing the course for the weekend.”
In its first two events this season, the Red placed sixth at the Colgate Invitational and seventh at the Leo Keenan Invitational tournament. Nevertheless, the golf team has its sights set on a first-place trophy this weekend.
“I definitely expect a much better performance [this weekend],” Fritz said. “It would be a big disappointment if we do anything but win. If everyone is on top of their games, there is no reason we shouldn’t win.”
“For this team, this is our tournament and we want to win,” Perry said.[img_assist|nid=18654|title=Aim and fire|desc=The golf team will look for improvement after its seventh-place finish in last weekend’s St. Bonaventure Invitational.|link=popup|align=right|width=61|height=100]