While golf's high society was hob-nobbing on Magnolia Lane at the Augusta National this weekend, the Harvard golf team was taking a soggy stroll on the Yale golf course in the Big Three Match with Princeton and Yale.
When the Ivy League Championship and NCAA Qualifying tournaments were played at Yale last year, it also rained, and the Crimson fared poorly. On Saturday, the linksters once again succumbed to the combination of downpour and architect Charles Blair MacDonald's penal layout.
Princeton, a traditional Ivy golfing power, won the tourney with watertight rounds of 76, 78 and a triad of 82s for a team aggregate of 400. The Elis nipped the Crimson for second with 417 strokes on their home 18 to Harvard's 419.
First-year Harvard coach Bob Carrsaid afterwards, "I thought that 410 would win it easily, but when Princeton came in with a 400 it was all over for us."
The only player not wearing a Tiger visor to break 80 was the Crimson's Chip Raffi, the seventh and last man to tee off for the linksters. Raffi finished third in the tournament with 79, three strokes behind medalist Steve Laughlin. Laughlin, a blue-chip freshman who was recruited by Harvard, went to Princeton on an ROTC scholarship. He was only one of five freshmen who played for the Tigers.
Behind Raffi for the Crimson was Ron Himelman, the low scorer in the linksters' first match, who carded an 83. As the rain slackened, he played the back nine in 39, three-over-par.
Co-captain Jim Dales and freshman Carroll Lowenstein, the son of the former Harvard quarterback, both came in at 85. Dales, despite striking the ball soundly, had his round marred by a tragi-comic eight on the 11th hole, an innocuous drive-and-pitch par four.
Dales pushed his tee shot into the woods and had to take an unplayable. His third shot caught an overhanging limb and dropped back down into the underbrush. After raining several more futile blows on the unbudging ball, he choked down on a wedge to bunt it out of a bush and then got up and down for his eight.
Dales' debacle typified the costliness of a missed shot on MacDonald's course, with its majestic swales and elevated greens ringed by bunkers. MacDonald, a Chicagoan who was introduced to golf when his father sent him to study at St. Andrews University in Scotland in 1872, set the standard for American golf course architecture.
Upon his return to Chicago he began practicing on what had been Camp Douglas during the Civil War. using the leftover ration cans as cups. In 1895 he designed the Chicago Golf Club. Yale is one of MacDonald's masterpieces, one of the premier university courses, and is ranked in Golf Digest magazine's Top One Hundred Courses.
By common consent, the most spectacular hole at Yale is the ninth, a 220-yd. par-three that calls for a tee shot from an elevated promontory that must carry over the water below to a split-level, slipper-shaped green. The narrow green is encircled by trees.
It was here that Raffi met his rainy Waterloo, as an out-of-play tee shot forced him to take a triple-bogey six. Raffi's only other slip came on the final hole, a long par-five with a Matterhorn of a hillock on the right side of the fairway. Raffi's drive landed on this hump and he took a double-bogey seven. The Win-chester native played the other sixteen holes in an impeccable four-over.
Raffi did not get a green jacket for his efforts but the Masters as it turned out was a battle of the Big Three.