With the start of the golf season coming this weekend, the Red prepares for a trip to Hamilton, New York, to compete in The Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational — without its top performers from a season ago.
Coming off three consecutive second-place team finishes at the event, the Red has had success at Seven Oaks Golf Course, but has struggled to secure that elusive first-place finish.
This year the Red is faced with the challenge of replacing the production of two stars, Michael Graboyes ’18 and Chris Troy ’18. The senior duo from last season posted nine different individual top-10 finishes, including second and 10th-place finishes, respectively, at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial last season. The duo also led the team in scoring average, as Graboyes averaged less than half a stroke above par, while Troy averaged just above three.
Yet, with transition comes new opportunity. The Red will now rely on the experience of senior (Jack) Tianyi Cen. Cen, who had three top-10 finishes of his own last season, will be accompanied by sophomore Charlie Dubiel and juniors Jack Casler and Mike May as the only players to compete in away tournaments for the Red last season.
Dubiel, who showed glimpses of greatness last season, ranked fourth among Ivy League newcomers with a 74.85 scoring average in 2017. The team needs him to take that next step into becoming a dominant Ivy League player to compete with the conference’s best.
The same can be said for junior Jack Casler, who competed in six of the eight tournaments last season. Casler showed vast improvement this summer with an impressive fourth-place finish in the New York State Amateur with rounds of 73, 73, 70 and 74 at the notoriously difficult Irondequoit Country Club, whose slope rating is 137.
Finally, fellow junior Mike May is tournament-proven with the ability to post low numbers. The upperclassman posted a second-round 71 at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial, but struggled with consistency. Occasional issues off the tee were the main reason he posted tournament scores ranging from 71 to 91 in 20 rounds. If May can figure out how to stay on track, his ability to go low — highlighted by his seven tournament rounds of 75 or lower last season — could play a role in the team’s success.
At least one more player will have to step up for the Red to round out the top five. With four freshmen added to the roster, coach Matt Baughan will have a variety of options and a lot of flexibility to develop newcomers and rotate players at the fifth spot based on course conditions and layout.