April 24, 2007

Golf Finishes Last at Ivy Championships

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Even with the pleasant weather conditions, finishing three rounds of the Ivy League championships proved to be a difficult task for the golf team, as the Red finished eighth out of eight teams in the event held at the Galloway National Golf Course.
“It was tough; I don’t think anyone is particularly proud of their performance,” said junior Austin Lord. “Though Robbie and Bret played well the first day, we definitely didn’t play to our potential.”
The Red came into the Ivy League championships Saturday morning very confident of their chances of winning. With the recent tournaments played against conference rivals Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth, the Cornell golfers felt no pressure when it came time to play against the tough field.
“We had our highest ranking in the spring season. We felt as strong as anybody in the league,” said head coach Matt Baughan.
After the first round of golf, Cornell finished in a tie for third, scoring 306, only seven strokes behind the leader. Among the golfers, Cornell’s Robbie Fritz was in a tie for second, with junior Bret Perry only one stroke behind him. However, Cornell struggled to find a fourth and fifth score with Austin Lord and Rance Barber both scoring significantly over-par.
“We played decent in the early rounds. We struggled to find a fourth and fifth score on the first day,” Baughan said.
During the second round on Saturday afternoon, the Red continued to score in the middle of the field. The 36 holes played on Saturday challenged the team’s endurance and focus.
“It is an extremely difficult golf course and if you lose focus on one hole, you can get into bad shots. Double bogeys, triple bogeys and those strokes are difficult to get back,” Baughan said.
Cornell finished Saturday with a team score of 617 — good enough for fifth place in the eight-team field. The squad finished its second round on Saturday afternoon well below its expectations, however. All Red golfers had bogeys on at least seven holes during the course of the round, while Lord scored bogeys or worse on the first eight holes of his second round.
“The first day was 36 holes, so it was a long and draining day, especially since I played horribly,” Austin said.
Cornell’s performance worsened on Sunday, and even more as the third round progressed, with the team scoring a season-high 331. Cornell finished the Ivy League tournament with a three-round total of 948.
UPenn became the 2007 Ivy League champions with a team score of 904.
Among the field, Fritz was the team’s top finisher, placing 13th overall. Despite the top-score, Fritz related that he still felt disappointed with his performance at the Ivy League championships.
“I had a couple of bad breaks which kept me from All-Ivy honors for the second time. I came into the day thinking that if I shot a decent number I could have won the tournament. With a combination of bad luck and mediocre ball-striking, I came in 13th opposed to one of the top finishers,” he said.
Feelings of disappointment didn’t stop with Fritz, however, as many Red players were upset with their efforts.
“Its unfortunate that it comes down to one tournament; if we played average golf and scored 300 the last round we would’ve been first or second at least,” Baughan said.
Perry couldn’t hide his disappointment for his performance at the championships either.
“I was disappointed with the mental mistakes I made throughout the week and I feel embarassed at the way I let down my teammates. I try to do my best to be a leader and it’s tough to acknowledge that I wasn’t able to fulfill that role this week,” he said.