The Cornell golf team used strong final rounds to surge to a third place finish during this weekend’s Cornell Invitational, making up for shaky performances in the early going.
With an eight over-par 284 opening round performance, the Red sat in ninth place. But a one over-285 second round catapulted Cornell from ninth to fourth. A four-under 280 in the final round left the team in a third place overall.
“A couple of the guys were rusty [and] had some trouble getting off to a hot start, so we got off to a bad start, but we played fantastic the final two [rounds],” said senior co-captain Chris Troy. “It’s been the same for the last tournament so we definitely have to work on getting more consistent.”
After a first place finish in last year’s Cornell Invitational, the Red entered the tournament as the defending champions in strong position for a repeat. The added pressure may have played a role in the slow start.
“We were definitely nervous coming into the tournament,” said senior co-captain Mike Graboyes. “There are expectations placed upon you as the defending champs … and we just put a little too much pressure on ourselves to get off to that bad start.”
Cornell’s success in the final two rounds was led primarily by stellar performances from its two co-captains. Graboyes recorded a two under-par 69 in both the second and third rounds, while Troy shot a 68 in the second round and a 71 in the third. Each finished with a three-day total of 211, tied for third place individually.
While consistently low scores might be expected from veterans, it was freshman Charlie Dubiel’s seventh place finish which turned the most heads.
“Charlie has been really, really impressive,” Troy said of his newest teammate. “He has a much more mature golf game than I did when I was a freshmen, [and] I think we’ll definitely need to lean on him this year.”
Dubiel recorded an even-par 213 over three days, including a 68 Sunday. His performances have continued to impress his teammates.
“I didn’t know Charlie coming into the year, but [after] playing 18 holes with Charlie the first week of class, my expectations went through the roof,” Graboyes said. “He beat me out in qualifying, had just one bad round last weekend, and played amazing the rest of the way. I really expect him to play a major role the rest of the year.”
With an overall combined score of five over-857, the Red fell just a few strokes shy of first place Temple’s 855 and second place Yale’s 856. However, the team does not see the third place finish as cause for concern, but rather motivation to strive for increased consistency.
“We lost by a really small margin … just [a few] shots in a tournament where we shot over 800 shots,” Graboyes said. “If Yale [and Temple] were off on a few shots … we could have easily won. I’m confident that we can be very successful if we just keep preparing like we have been and with the team we have right now.”
The Red will have to be more consistent in its upcoming tournament at Dartmouth’s Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge, featuring only two rounds and 36 holes of golf.
“We’re looking forward to Dartmouth, but we’ll definitely need to get off to a hotter start because the next tournament is 18 and 18,” Graboyes said.
That tournament begins this Friday, Sept. 22 in Quechee, Vermont.