September 19, 2007

Golf Heads to St. Bonaventure Invite

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With hearts pounding, hands shaking and adrenaline flowing, the golf team will return to action at the St. Bonaventure Invitational on Sept. 23.
Great leadership is often hard to put into place on sports teams. The golfers are coming back from a disappointing close to last year’s season, finishing out as last place in last April’s Ivy League championships. While they went in with high hopes for a possible victory over league competitors like Yale and Dartmouth, the team’s performance did not live up to the hype as less than half of the field shot under 80 on the last day. By bringing in new talent, like freshman recruit Matt Jaye, Cornell hopes to take the next step as C.U. upperclassmen leaders initiate this year’s new class of golfers.
“This is definitely a big step from high school,” Jaye says. “Practicing with these high-quality golfers brings your play up to the next level.”
Robbie Fritz had glimpses of great play as he finished 13th overall in last year’s Ivy League championships, and took the top spot for all of the Cornell golf team. Nonetheless, Fritz’s performance wasn’t enough to lift the C.U. golfers out of their funk during the tournament.
With a strong core of returning seniors including Bret Perry, Austin Lord, Chad Bernstein and Robbie Fritz, the golf team looks ahead to greater challenges in the upcoming season. Head coach Matt Baughan is entering his sixth year for the Red, and has seen constant improvements in the team and its competitive place in the Ivy League throughout his tenure. Leadership and experience are expected to boost Cornell over the hump this season.
“Coach Baughnan is definitely a great coach, but he’s also a great person,” Jaye said. “He actually had the players over the other night for a spaghetti dinner. It was a good team-bonding experience.”
Three new freshmen recruits will join the squad this year. Dan Bosse, Larry Heymont, and Matt Jaye will don the Cornell uniform for the first time at the season opening on Sept. 23rd. The freshmen trust that they will make great strides in their golfing skills by interaction with the upperclassmen leaders on the Red team.
“Great leaders lead by example,” Jaye says. “They go the extra mile to help you out, even when things are tough.”
Cornell hopes to use the lessons learned from last season to push them over the top for this year. For instance, since the seniors understand that tournaments can be an emotional rollar-coaster, their experiences can help keep the rest of the squad level-headed throughout the season.
“It’s a small team, so there’s a very low power distance,” Jaye said. “The stream of information is tight between the captains and the players, and they are just part of the team.”