The Cornell men’s golf team is finding its groove at the perfect time. In its final tuneup before the Ivy League Championships this upcoming weekend, the Red recorded its best spring season outing last Saturday with a fourth place finish at the Yale Spring Invitational.
“We’re definitely getting used to hitting on the greens and finding our rhythm again,” said senior co-captain Luke Graboyes. “We have a few things we need to work on [but] I think we’re in a good place heading into the Ivy’s.”
Graboyes and his younger brother Mike both shot two under-par 68s in the second round to place in the top-five individually. Graboyes recorded a final score of four-over 144 for fifth place, while Mike recorded an even more impressive par 140 for second place.
Sophomore Tianyi Cen placed 44th with a 13-over 153, and freshman Michael May rounded out the lineup with a 19-over 159 for a 57th place finish. Notably, junior Christopher Troy shot a three-over 73 in the first round before sitting out to avoid aggravating an injured knee.
“I would say our confidence is especially high given the way we played this weekend,” Mike Graboyes said. “Our team finish didn’t really reflect how we’ve been playing [because] Chris sat out, but we feel really good about how we’re playing.”
As with all of the tournaments this spring, the Yale Invitational offered Cornell the opportunity to continue gaining experience hitting outdoors after building up some rust over its winter hiatus. In particular, the course gave the Red a chance to putt on some large greens.
“The greens are really big [and] almost outside thirty feet,” Mike said. “You can hit a bad second shot on the green and have a 50 foot putt, so getting the speed down is really key.”
The Invitational also offered some practice with elevation changes and building more trust in hitting atypical shots.
“There’s a lot of elevation changes and blind shots. Some of the newer guys had never played that before, so [it taught] how to trust your shot and just hit it,” Graboyes said.
With the Ivy’s looming this weekend, the Red’s fourth place finish should certainly provide some confidence heading into the championship tournament.
“The Ivy’s will be a shorter course than Yale,” Graboyes said. “It’s more of a modern golf course with deep bunkers, but with the way we’ve been playing, we have the chance to put up some low numbers.”
The tournament will take place at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the Red will look to keep a simple mindset of sticking to fundamentals heading into the event.
“The key to this course is to miss in the right spot where you have an uphill straightforward shot rather than one over a mound and down a slope,” Mike said. “It’s really just giving ourselves easy putts, dealing with the greens and hitting the approach shots [correctly] which will help us do well.”
“We really think we can do well at the championships this year. Me and Luke gained a lot of confidence at Yale, the Ivy’s take place at Chris’s home course, and the course just sets up really well for Jack and Mike,” he added.
The three-day tournament begins Friday morning and concludes on Sunday.