October 16, 2007

Golf Team Wins Second Straight Tourney, Beats Ivy Foes

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In the spring of 2005, the golf team shocked the Ivy League when it played its way to second place in the Ivy championships. It was Cornell’s highest finish ever and seemed to be an indicator of things to come with then-freshman Robbie Fritz leading the way and earning All-Ivy honors.
Fast-forward through two years of last-place Ivy finishes and unfulfilled expectations. Fritz, now the captain of the squad as a senior, is part of a Red team that is riding a two-game tournament-winning streak after a victory at the Big 5 Invitational in Philadelphia.
“I guess my thoughts haven’t changed in terms of how we can perform against the other Ivies,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t win against all the Ivies, we’ve always had the talent to do so. I don’t know why exactly it is that it took until this year to follow through with it.”
The Red shot an overall 595 to finish first in the 15-team field that included Princeton in third, Columbia in fifth and Penn (last year’s Ivy champion) in eighth. Freshman Matt Jaye continued his consistent play, leading the way with a two-day score of 146, good for fourth. Fritz, who had a nine-stroke improvement from Day 1 to Day 2, was a stroke off Jaye’s pace, finishing fifth overall.
“The first day I was just off by just a little and it was just enough to get me in trouble,” Fritz said. “On the second day I don’t think I was doing anything too differently. I stuck to the same gameplan but I was hitting it where I wanted to.”
Fritz said the Red — who placed three golfers in the overall top-10 with sophomore Robert Cronheim at eighth — stuck to a strategy of low-risk golf to counter the long, tough course.
“On the golf course you just have to play conservatively,” he said. “You want to hit a lot of fairways and aim for a lot of greens. If you go for some of the pins on this golf course you’re bound to get yourself in trouble with a tough putt. So hitting it in the center of the green helped us.”
The Red backed up its No. 7 ranking, according to golfstat.com, in its region earned last week after a win at the Delaware Invitational. The team was also tabbed as the 135th best team in the country. Both were program-bests, and the best in the Ivy League currently.
“[Backing up the ranking] was definitely important to us, especially because quite a few of the Ivies were playing,” Fritz said. “So, I think in order to maintain our ranking we definitely wanted to put in a good performance. I think in all of our minds, nothing would be acceptable except a top-3 finish. So it kind of exceeded our expectations.”
Fritz said much of the team’s success can be attributed to a relaxed atmosphere among the team from knowing that all five starters can shoot low numbers every week.
“The last two weekends we’ve used everyone’s score” he said. “It wasn’t like the same person was getting dropped. All five of us can shoot a low number. That puts everyone at ease knowing that all five of us are going to put in good rounds.”