The Harvard golf team lost to Penn by one stroke in the ECAC Fall Golf Championship at Cooperstown. N.Y. last Saturday.
The Crimson edged Connecticut Central for second place by one stroke on a 30-foot birdie putt by Art Burke on the 18th hole. The team had previously tied Connecticut Central at the qualifying rounds at Dartmouth.
Harvard's effort at the tournament was the best ever for a Harvard golf team, and ended the virtual domination of Eastern golf by Penn. Princeton, and Penn State. Princeton finished fourth on Saturday, closely followed by Penn State, but these two were six strokes behind the number three team.
The team's performance is quite an achievement since they don't even have their own course or a golf pro for a coach, as many other schools such as Dartmouth, Yale, and Penn, do.
Harvard's team score of 311 included a round of 74 by Art Burke, a 75 by Quin Smith, and scores of 79 and 83 by Tom Yellin and Captain Skip Berry respectively. Team scores are the result of the addition of the top four individual performances.
The Cooperstown course was considerably harder than the Dartmouth course, where the qualifying rounds were held last week. Par is 72 at Cooperstown, while par at Dartmouth was 70. The cold, wet weather and strong winds probably also added to the high scores at the championship.
The Cooperstown course also has a lake that becomes a formidable water hazard on the final three holes, and accounted for Captain Berry's 86 for the 18-hole tournament.
Yellin said that the team was, of course, disappointed to lose by one stroke. especially since a few players missed short tap-ins that could have won the tournament. But he added that such conjectures aren't too meaningful in a game like golf, and that the team did far better than anyone expected.
Burke's 74 earned him a tie for third place in the individual score competition. Burke's pressure putting put Harvard into the finals, as he sank a ten-foot birdie putt last week end to give Harvard the tie with Connecticut Central. His 30-footer on the 18th this week was just enough to nose Connecticut Central for second.
Most players on the team felt that they could have played better and are looking forward to the spring easterns. If they repeat their Fall performance, they will compete in the NCAA championship at Penn State.