In cold and wind, m. golf struggles to 14th place finish

There is a saying in sports that you have to get the bad shots out of you first, and the men’s golf team definitely seemed to use this weekend for that purpose.

The Bulldogs traveled to Grasonville, Md., this weekend to play in the Lacrosse Homes Collegiate Invitational hosted by Towson University. The Elis finished in 14th place out of 19 teams, shooting a total of 632 over two days. The appropriately named Longwood University finished in first place with a score of 598. Brown tied the Bulldogs for 14th, while Cornell finished in 8th place with 622.

The tournament was the Elis’ first of the spring season, and the rust of the long break was on full display. The team had gone to Scotland and England to train in preparation for the spring season, but Colby Moore ’09 said that playing the famous courses of the birthplace of golf ended up not necessarily being the best training.

“We did not have much time to practice while there, and it was not a great training trip but rather better for socializing,” Moore said.

Once back, the Bulldogs only had two days of practice leading up to their trip to Maryland. Their rusty skills were then compounded by cold and windy course conditions upon arrival that continued throughout the weekend.

“It was windier on Saturday, leading overall to much higher scores compared to last year’s tournament,” Moore said.

The high scores across the team came mostly from a few disastrous holes for the Elis in the midst of otherwise solid stretches of play. The players said that while practicing the course before the tournament, they identified the problematic holes, but ultimately those holes still yielded big scores.

Ben Wescoe ’10 in particular had an intriguing sequence of shots on Saturday. On a par 4, Wescoe’s drive drifted off the fairway, struck the top of a tree and fell down near the trunk. From there, Wescoe had to swing left-handed for the first time in his career in order to get the ball out. Wescoe eventually managed a respectable bogey on the hole, improving on his triple bogey from another tree-induced adventure on a par 5 earlier in the round.

“I had two whiffs because of trees,” Wescoe said. “I need to be not so greedy in the future when trying to get out of those situations.”

Taylor Hakes ’09 and Tom McCarthy ’11 also had big holes with two triple bogeys and the rare quadruple bogey among them. Wescoe said the team is confident these struggles are an isolated event and that they can work to eliminate these big numbers.

“We are going to move on from here and forget about what happened at the tournament,” Wescoe said.

Leading the Bulldogs individually was Wescoe, who shot a 74 for the team’s low round for the tournament on Sunday; his overall score of 154 for the weekend placied him 25th. Joe Hernandez ’08 finished four strokes behind Wescoe and placed 49th overall.

The Elis hit the links again this upcoming weekend, returning home to host a tournament at the Yale Golf Course. At the earlier MacDonald Cup at the Yale Golf Course in October, the Bulldogs finished second.

“At the Yale Golf Course, you really need to know the ins and outs of the course in order to do well,” Moore said. “We are coming in as one of the highest-ranked teams in the tournament, so we expect to do well.”

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