Cornell golf had a solid opening round at this weekend’s Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge at Dartmouth, but faltered yet again in the second to finish the tournament in fourth as a team.
With a third-place team finish at Quechee last year, coupled with solid performances on the individual level, the Red was confident coming into this year’s installment of the Hanover, New Hampshire tournament.
“We were feeling great,” said senior co-captain Mike Graboyes. “The first day verified we were playing really well and our practice was paying off. As a team we’ve shot under par three or four times already, and we only did it once last year.”
After day one, the Red sat tied with Harvard for first place, combining for a 3-under-par, 285 team score in the first round. Individually, junior Jack Cen, along with senior co-captains Chris Troy and Graboyes, led the Red by shooting 1-under-par 71s, leaving them tied for fourth place on the individual level after day one. Sophomore Mike May finished on par with a 72, good enough for a tie for 14th.
But for the second time in three weeks, the Red could not keep its momentum up playing with the pressure of a lead and faded on day two. The team recorded a second round of 14-over-par 302 to finish at 11-over-par 587, sandwiched between Harvard (586) and Central Connecticut (588).
“All of us are guilty of not playing well when the pressure grew during that last stretch,” Graboyes said. “The other teams performed really well. Drexel’s rounds were unbelievable, but we just really played poorly on the back.”
After a mediocre first day, Drexel shot a 12-under-par 276 in the second round to catapult themselves from sixth place to the top of the pedestal with a 6-under-par 570. Princeton, in third place after the first round, shot a 6-under-par 282 to finish one stroke behind Drexel for second place.
Cen shot a 1-over-par 73, leaving him tied for seventh overall, while Graboyes shot a 2-over-par 74 for eleventh in a very competitive field. Troy shot a 5-over-par 77, ending up tied for 23rd.
“[We felt] very disappointed to say the least,” Graboyes said. “We actually started well on Sunday but didn’t play well the last eight or nine holes. … [But] it’s good to keep putting ourselves in these situations and we’ll learn how to close out rounds better in the future.”
With the upcoming weekend off before competing again at the Connecticut Cup on Oct. 9-10, the athletes know exactly what needs shoring up to finish the fall leg of the season strong: putting and not letting momentum fade.
“Collectively, it seems like putting has been where we tend to struggle,” Graboyes said. “We’re all really good ball strikers but lose shots to other teams because of our putting. Coach has given us a drill to work on that practices making putts inside of 12 feet, which is a really key distance, and we need to keep doing the drill through our last event.”