Led by senior co-captain Mike Graboyes’s stellar performance over the holiday weekend, the Cornell golf team wrapped up its fall season on Tuesday with a second place finish at the Connecticut Cup.
A final score of 870 left the Red six strokes behind tournament champion Connecticut and seven strokes ahead of third place Rhode Island. Cornell has now recorded a top-four finish in each of its four tournaments during the fall season.
“Overall, it was a very successful trip,” said senior co-captain Chris Troy. “We would have loved to win the tournament, but second place is still obviously great and shows some of what the future holds.”
For a team that hoped to end the fall season on a high note, Graboyes’s showing was certainly the peak of the weekend. The senior shot three-under par 213, including an impressive five-under 67 in the third round, on his way to a first place finish in the tournament.
“The entire tournament, I was just hitting the ball really well and got a couple of putts to drop in which led to the success in the scoring,” Graboyes said.
After shooting one-under 71 in the opening round, Graboyes struggled in the second, shooting a season-high three-over 75. However, he followed up with a spectacular third round performance, including four birdies in a five-hole stretch, to record the lowest round in his collegiate career. Graboyes’s final score put him one stroke ahead of Rhode Island’s Dawson Jones, earning him medalist honors for the third time in his career.
“I actually made a mistake on the ninth hole in the second round, which made me lose my focus for a couple of holes,” Graboyes said. “Thankfully, I was able to come back, [where I was] able to take advantage of … the first six holes [in the third round] and come out on fire.”
The rest of the team also recorded respectable finishes in the tournament’s 90 person field. Junior Jack Cen and sophomore Mike May both recorded final scores of five-over 221 to tie for 24th place, while Troy and freshman Charlie Dubiel both had final scores of seven-over 223 to tie for 30th. Sophomore Jack Casler competed individually, finishing tied for 73rd at 232.
With its top-four finishes in each of its fall tournaments, the Red cements itself as one of the favorites to win the Ivy League Championship. The team will continue to prepare by conditioning over the winter, and placing a particular emphasis on getting out to more consistent starts in the spring season.
“We’ve done a good job of finishing strong and putting ourselves in a position to win, but we really need to get off to better starts,” Troy said. “If we’re able to improve our starts, we’ll be able to rely less heavily on our later performances to catch up.”
Additionally, while Cornell has had top finishes this season, it has yet to secure a definitive first place finish. However, Graboyes does not see this as a point of concern.
“I don’t think we have an issue where we just ‘aren’t there yet’ or where we’re losing by two or five shots every game,” Graboyes said. “In the end, it almost comes down to luck where we have to get a few putts to drop and a few bounces here and there.”
For the meantime, the Red will head into a lengthy winter recess before resuming play around mid-March to April.
“All we can work on is getting better ourselves and beefing up our play,” Graboyes said. “It’s just a matter of playing smart as we have been all year, and hopefully during Ivies, we get a few putts shots to drop.”