April 9, 2013

GOLF | Golfers Struggle During Opener

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After not playing in an official match or tournament since October, the golf team looked very rusty in the Yale Spring Opener, the first tournament of the spring. The Red finished last in the 13-team field, with its five players shooting a combined score of 644 in the two-round tournament. Villanova placed first with a combined score of 583, 9-strokes less than its nearest competitor.The Red started off poorly in the first round, with all five players shooting at least an 83. Some of this was due to the team’s nervousness in starting the spring season, according to junior tri-captain Max Koehler.“Everybody was jittery on the first few holes,” he said. “After hitting a few big shots, you settle down and regain the confidence in yourself and make it more comfortable to play the game again.”According to Koehler, another factor may have been the weather conditions and the setup of the tournament.“We played both rounds in one day, and we started out at 8:30 in the morning in 35 degree weather and 20 mph winds,” Koehler said. “We didn’t really have that much time to practice the past week with the weather [in Ithaca], so we were kind of rusty and didn’t have the confidence. I think everybody improved in the second round, so I think, at the point as a team, we’re getting better with every round. [Right now], at the beginning of the season, we just need to get reps in and gain the confidence we need to compete.”The Red did perform better in the second round, improving the team’s total combined score by 28 strokes. Junior tri-captain Carl Schimenti showed the most improvement, shooting an 83 in the first round and a 71 in the second. Freshman Brandon Eng also impressed, improving from an 83 to a 76.Looking ahead to next weekend, the Red will continue its season at the Princeton Invitational, where Cornell will face much of the same competition it did at the Yale Spring Opener.“I know a lot of Ivy League teams will be there — I think at least six — so we’ll get some more experience against them,” Koehler said. “A lot of the same schools [at the last] tournament will be there, too.”A factor working in the favor of the Red next week is their familiarity with the course, as four of the five starters have played at Princeton before, while none had played at the Yale course last weekend.“Four of the five starters have played that course, so we know the course pretty well; there’s nothing too complicated about it,” Koehler said. “Last week, none of us had played the course before, and it was kind of a quirky course. This coming week, the course is [straightforward] and I think our game matches up pretty well.”After playing poorly in the first tournament, the Red now knows that it has to improve and prepare better for tournaments, which it plans to do starting this week.“The first tournament was good for us because it showed us how unprepared we really were,” Koehler said. “We didn’t play our best, but after that [showing], we know that we didn’t take the right steps to prepare. You can only blame so much on the weather; we need to blame ourselves and we just need to be better prepared for this upcoming tournament. This week, the weather looks good, so we’re all going to try to get out there and play a lot of golf out and regain that confidence we need.”Although the season has just started, the team recognizes how they only have a couple weeks left in the season — the spring season this year is just four tournaments in four consecutive weekends.“We just need to keep moving forward because spring season is so short,” Koehler said. “Three more weeks and it’s the Ivy League Championship; we just need to keep improving week by week, getting more confidence in ourselves and as a team to do well and hopefully by the time the [Ivy League Championship] roll around, we’ll be at the top of our game.”

Original Author: Albert Liao