Cornell golf traveled to Princeton, New Jersey for the annual Princeton Invitational held over the weekend. The tournament, played at the Tigers’ own Springdale Golf Club, teed off on Saturday morning with a pool of 78 golfers from 15 different schools.
Princeton led their own event for the entirety of the weekend. The A and B teams jockeyed for control of the lead while the next closest team, Seton Hall, only managed to come within six strokes of the leader before the end of the meet.
Princeton’s A team would ultimately come out on top, slipping past the B team by a single stroke, totaling a final score of 845, good enough for seven under par. Princeton’s B team held the lead for the first two rounds (276-283) before being cut down by their other half in the final round. Seton Hall closed out the final day even on par, earning third place with a team score of 852.
The Red finished the tournament 12 of 15. Junior Josh Lundmark led the team with a 217 total score (72-71-74), placing 27th individually. Senior Gus Lascola was right behind Lundmark, shooting 73-74-71 for 218 as his total score and earning him a tie for 31st with five other golfers. Junior Ben Choe also did his part to keep the Red afloat, tying for 41st on the back of a 221 total score (73-73-75).
While the competition was stiff and the weather unpredictable, Red golfers felt Springdale played nicely.
“The course played good,” said Lundmark, who led Cornell at the invitational.
“The greens were iffy, but overall the rest of the course was in pretty good shape,” Lundmark said, “[the grounds were] still wet and soft like most other northeast golf around this time of year, but we were all pleased with how it was playing.”
The Red did face rain at points in the tournament, though Lundmark said the weather had minimal impact on play.
“The weather wasn’t too big of a factor, especially in comparison to our previous events this spring,” Lundmark said. “The wind was mild most of the week and it only rained for a handful of holes.”
Lundmark did state that coming back from golf in Florida added an extra challenge for the team this week.
“The biggest adjustment for us at least was coming straight from Florida to the event, which definitely made it feel colder than it was,” Lundmark said.
Overall, Cornell’s top golfer of the week felt good about his play, though not without a little self-criticism.
“I really enjoyed the tournament this past weekend,” Lundmark said. “I was pretty happy with how I played, however, I would’ve liked to finish my last 9 holes better.”
This was the golf team’s final stop before they head to the Ivy League Championships in Purchase, New York on Friday, April 22.
The championships will be played at Century Golf Club, a course many Cornell golfers have little to no experience playing.
“I personally have not played Century,however, we did spend last weekend in the area playing a very similar course to Century called the Stanwich Club,” Choe said. “We have been studying the course layout of Century and our senior captain Gus Lascola played in his U.S. Open Final Qualifier there last year and has been sharing some course knowledge, too.”
Lundmark is another golfer who is in the dark when it comes to Century Golf Club.
“I am not familiar with Century yet, but I am really excited to see it,” Lundmark said.
When speaking on the course, Lundmark reiterated Choes mention of studying the layout and practicing in the area, adding that they are all looking forward to getting on the grounds and playing.
When asked if any changes would be made heading into the postseason, the two golfers offered similar stances.
“From everything we’ve heard, it’s a tough track that’s going to be in really good shape,” Lundmark said. “I don’t plan on tackling it much differently than many other courses we’ve played, but, being a significantly harder course than some others this season, being patient and waiting for opportunities instead of forcing them is going to be of utmost important effort this week if we want to perform.”
Coach Baughan made significant changes to the lineup for the championship, placing Lascola at the #1 seed to lead the Red. “He has experience on the course and it’s his first and last Ivy League Championship. As the only senior on the lineup, we hope having him play as #1 may bring out his best game,” Choe said.
“Other than the lineup change, we are treating it like it’s just another day in the office,” Choe continued. “Same practice routines, same mindset, but we know more is on the line here. The winning team advances to [the] NCAA Regionals.”
While the team rigorously prepares, there’s no way around the fact that none of the Red golfers know what to expect in the Ivy Championships.
“The starting lineup is all juniors and seniors, and none of us have ever played in the Ivy League Championship due to COVID,” Choe said. “We have been waiting 2 years for this, and we can’t wait to tee it up.”
The Ivy League Championships begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, April 22 at Century Golf Club.