It had taken 24 holes, but junior Zach Bosse was finally able to land the decisive blow in Cornell’s Ivy League Match Play showdown against the Harvard Crimson.
“I hit a great shot out of the rough to about three feet and I forced him to concede after he missed a would-be par putt,” Bosse said.
The Red golf team wrapped up its fall season with the Ivy Match Play event this past weekend at Tournament Players Club at Jasna Polana in Princeton, N.J. Despite dropping the first and third-round matches to Princeton and Penn, respectively, the Red’s 3-2 second-round victory against third-seeded Harvard made the tournament one to remember.
“It felt good. We went out. We had high hopes. Jasna Polana is a great course. I feel very, very blessed to have the opportunity to play such a tournament at a course like that,” Bosse said. “And for me, individually, the match play was all about closing the season on a strong note. My past few showings were not my best. I did not post good scores — scores I was happy about. And I still felt like I had something to prove to close out this half of the season.”
“I spent this week working on the game — both the physical and the mental game — and trying to get my head in line for the tournament … Coach [Matt Baughan] and I worked on some things during the week and I took him to heart going into the tournament.”
The Red began its round against Harvard Saturday evening before darkness forced the majority of the team to complete its matches on Sunday morning. Freshman Brandon Eng — who was one of the few players able to finish Saturday evening — notched Cornell’s first match play victory of the tournament.
“During the Big 5 Tournament, I was having a little bit of trouble with my swing, just sort of fighting it my entire round,” Eng said. “But when I got the Ivy League match play I just let my instincts be my swing and I didn’t think about it as much, I just swung instead of thinking about mechanics and I did better.”
Meanwhile, Bosse was locked in a tight battle against his Harvard opponent. Following his opponents’ untimely birdie on Sunday morning, Bosse began a six-hole playoff march, holding par before converting on a clutch chip shot.
“My last playoff hole … was a 430-yard par four that [had] a slight dogleg right and the wind was blowing hard … right to left,” Bosse said. “[My opponent] hit his tee shot down the center of the fairway and I put mine in the right rough, kind of behind some trees but it was still in view of the green … I took my shot from the rough with a seven iron — a gripped-down 7-iron punch shot if you will, to keep it out of the wind … and it landed … toward the left of the pin on a hillside which let the ball bounce and funnel down toward the back of the cup to about three feet.”
After failing to make par, Bosse’s opponent conceded the hole and, thus, the match.
“You know when you play a team like Harvard, you’re going to have to play solid golf if you want to challenge them,” Bosse said. “And that goes the same for everyone on the team who had their match, whether they won or lost. It says a lot when every match is close and … exciting to watch. It just makes for a lot of fun in the tournament atmosphere. Whether it was closing out the day before due to darkness or opening up really early in the morning to finish up your match, you had to find a way to carry over your good golf from the night before into the morning, the morning after. And in my particular case I found a way to do that.”
As the team goes dormant before a new slate of events in the spring, the Red will continue to work on its short game and general conditioning. One area that won’t need work, however, is team chemistry — which was on display during Ivy Match Play.
When asked about his first collegiate match play experience, Eng said, “I loved it. I wish there were more events like match play. It was much more exciting because [with] one-on-one matches it’s a lot easier to see who’s winning and how close the matches really are … and when you’re finished doing match play you can follow your teammates around along the course and watch them finish their matches … ”
“I think the team dynamic this year was really brought to the forefront because we had a match-play event,” Bosse agreed. “In my time [at Cornell] we never had a match-play tournament … until last weekend. Match play is, in my opinion, more team-involved, because … you have to get three out of five points to win the match … Because we’re such a tight-knit group the match play event was something we really enjoyed because we’re so close.”
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Original Author: Chris Mills