But for the Harvard men’s golf team, which found itself mired in the middle of the pack during the entirety of the fall season, spring play seem to be offering new results.
With the kickoff to the spring season, the Crimson settled for ninth in the 14-team field at the GEICO Intercollegiate in Savannah, Ga.
“It was nice to play again after resting up for five months,” rookie Mark Pollak said.
“I know some of the other guys are disappointed with how they did, but we got to take it with a grain of salt because we’ve had such a long rest.”
“Personally, I haven’t played a lot of golf over the winter, so it was great just getting outdoors and playing some golf,” junior Greg Shuman added.
Despite the constant threat of rain and the dark clouds looming over the entire tournament, the weather held and the Crimson was able to get the full three rounds of 18 holes in.
“It was good to get out into the sun and feel how it is to play again,” Pollak said.
Leading the way for Harvard, Pollak finished in a four-way tie at sixth, shooting +10 in the three-round weekend.
Pollack, who led all competitors at last fall’s Big 5 Invitational in par-5 holes, seems to be emerging as the indisputable anchor of the Crimson squad, despite being just a freshman.
Junior Danny Mayer shot +16 to tie at 27th, while classmate Greg Shuman shot 19 over for a share of 39th.
Shuman also finished as the third-best golfer on par-3 holes, averaging 3.08 strokes.
“We got better as the tournament went on just from playing a ton of golf,” Shuman said.
Despite settling for a share of 51st with a score of 22 over par, sophomore Louis Amira led the field in par-5 holes, finishing 5 strokes under par in those holes.
Freshman Tony Grillo, at +31, took home 69th place, while captain Michael Shore finished 79th at +36, and junior Peter Singh rounded out the Crimson competitors, shooting +45 for a share of 86th.
Tom Hayes of Savannah College of Art and Design led the course at three over par, shooting 72, 74, and 73 on the par-72 course.
Day 1 of competition wasn’t very kind to the Harvard golfers, as almost every member of the team shaved strokes from his first round total to his second.
Pollak, who finished just six strokes behind the daily leader Patrick Schiel of Southern Illinois University—who shot 71—at 77 on Day 1, improved to par on Day 2, finishing seven strokes behind the daily leader, Schiel’s Southern Illinois teammate Todd Obergoenner, who shot a formiddable 65 on the day.
“I think everyone just got used to the course,” Pollak said. “And they moved a few tees a little bit.”
But for Pollak, native of San Antonio, Texas, it was more than just a matter of getting used to the course, nor a gracious rearrangement of tees that helped him succeed.
“I think I’m a lot quicker to pick up my game after a long break than some of the other guys,” Pollak said. “I’m from the South, which helps a bit too because the course we played on was a typical southern course.
“I knew the grass and how to chip, especially around the green.”
All told, the Crimson shot 317 on Day 1, 304 on Day 2, and 320 on Day 3 to finish the Intercollegiate at 941.
Southern Illinois took the weekend crown, posting daily lows of 301 and 293 in the first two rounds of play, and, in the third round, the Salukis finished second to Bryant University, with 310 strokes to the Bulldogs’ 304. With those kind of postings, the Salukis easily coasted to victory at 904.
On deck for Harvard, the team travels to the PGA West course in La Quinta, Calif. to take on UC Riverside over Spring Break before returning to New England to take on a slate of Ivy League opposition at the Yale Spring Opener.
“Spring Break, we’re just all really excited to get out of New England,” Pollak said. “We’re all really looking forward to it. The Yale tournament is a crucial tournament.
“A lot of Ivy League teams will be there, so it’ll be good to see how we do against them before the Ivy League tournament at the end of the season.”
“We’re going to be really excited to get out [to California] and get some good golf in,” Shuman added.
“We’re going to be competing with a lot of different Ivy league teams all season.”
—Staff writer Dixon McPhillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.