Harvard Struggles To Maintain Momentum
Competing on a wet West Point course dampened by recent rains, the Harvard men’s golf team slipped to a disappointing 10th-place finish at the Mulekicker Fall Golf Classic. After last week’s promising start at the Dartmouth Invitational, the Crimson golfers found themselves outplayed by the likes of the champion, Central Connecticut, and the runner-up, Army.
“It was a pretty tough field,” captain Chris Wu said. “There were a lot of good teams out there, and lots of our guys struggled in terms of their ball striking.”
The short but narrow course posed considerable problems for Harvard. After posting a combined score of 304 on Saturday, the Crimson found itself unable to overcome the initial setback, recording a 309 on Sunday.
“Collectively, on the first couple of holes, we get off to bad start,” freshman Sam Lissner said. “The good teams played well, but we did a great job of not throwing in the towel.”
Being a young team, Harvard was hurt by its relative inexperience, with freshmen Lissner and Andrew Livingston finishing 64th and 66th respectively.
Still making the adjustment from match-play in high school to stroke-play at the collegiate level, the two first-years found the competition very challenging.
“A couple of guys have yet to show their ability,” Wu said. “There’s definitely a learning curve involved.”
Junior D. J. Hynes led the team, shooting 73-73-146 for the tournament. After making birdies on the 17th and 18th holes on Saturday, Hynes capped another solid round Sunday with a spectacular eagle on the final hole. Though his individual efforts were not enough to keep Harvard in contention, he finished tied for ninth place individually.
“I finished pretty strong,” Hynes said. “Though I made a couple of [double bogeys], I tried to not let it bother me.”
The key to Hynes’ success was his putting. While the course’s wetness decreased driving distance, it made the greens softer and thus easier to play on.
“I putted pretty well,” Hynes added. “To not have many three-putts was an accomplishment this weekend.”
Though Wu posted an impressive first-round 73, the captain faltered on Sunday, carding a 76 to finish tied for 21st place.
“There were tough par threes and tricky par fours,” Wu said. “I didn’t hit the ball well at all, but I did a good job of grinding it out score-wise.”
The Crimson golfers will attempt to put the Mulekicker Classic behind them as they prepare for the McDonald Cup hosted by Yale this upcoming weekend. Harvard will send its more experienced players—two seniors and a junior—to compete in New Haven.
“We’re expecting good things this weekend,” Hynes said. “Combined, we’ve seen the course an awful lot, and we have a good chance of posting some great numbers.”