Crimson Struggles in Ivy Championships

Harvard men’s golf notches a disappointing sixth-place finish in New Jersey

After showing promise amidst the Ivy field at the Yale Opener two weekends ago and at last weekend’s Princeton Invitational, Harvard men’s golf had high hopes heading into this weekend’s Ivy Championships. But those hopes will have to wait another year, as the Crimson finished sixth, just ahead of Brown and Cornell.

“Very disappointing,” freshman Mark Pollak said. “We just had to show up with our game and we didn’t. The other teams did. We’re as good a team as any team out there. But they showed up when they had to.”

Harvard had faced Yale three times earlier this season—finishing behind the Bulldogs at the GEICO Intercollegiate, edging them at the Spring Opener in New Haven, and finishing behind them at the Princeton Invitational.

At the Yale Spring Opener, where Ivy foe Dartmouth was also present, the Crimson placed first overall.

In the Princeton Invitational last weekend, Harvard finished eighth behind Yale, Penn, Columbia, and Princeton, but the Crimson was not playing with its regular squad.

But with this weekend’s play, Harvard collectively finished +28, behind the Lions’ +10, the Quakers’ +11, the Big Green’s +16, the Bulldogs’ +18, and the Tigers’ +24.

“We were a good enough team to compete and we didn’t,” junior Greg Shuman said. “We didn’t play well for three days. We can make all the excuses we want, but at the end of the day, we lost.”

But according to Pollak, the hardest part of the weekend’s tournament was sizing up the course.

The par-70 Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield, N.J. averages a little over 350 yards per hole and just 93 yards per stroke.

For the big hitting Harvard golfers, this didn’t allow them to get some room with monster drives.

“It wasn’t a type of course that suited the type of team we have,” Pollak said. “It rewarded bad drives. You could hit it anywhere.”

Also, the first round of play was delayed about half an hour, due to windy conditions, and the later tee times knocked everyone a little out of rhythm, but the conditions on Saturday and Sunday posed no problems for the Crimson.

“The conditions were perfect,” Pollak said. “The first day was a little unlucky with the late tee times. Ideal golfing weather.”

Shuman led the Crimson at +4, good enough for a share of eighth place overall.

After shooting a flat par in the first day’s round of play, Shuman dropped slightly in Round 2, shooting a 73, and then slipped further with his +1 round on Day 3.

“It was frustrating, because I played a lot better than I scored,” Shuman said. “I was playing really well, but didn’t really have much to show for it. Everyday I got off to great starts, but then had a tough time on the back nine.”

Pollak echoed Shuman’s sentiments about his own rounds of play.

“I played a lot better than my scores,” Pollak said. “I was out of it initially in the first round. I didn’t have my long -term goggles on and put myself out of it in the first day. It was hard to get any momentum going after that.”

Pollak shot a 76 in Friday’s first round, and though he bounced back with a 70 on Saturday and 71 yesterday, he had to settle for a +7 finish, good for sole possession of 13th place.

Junior Danny Mayer finished at +8, finishing strong with a 71 in the final round of play yesterday. His total score of 218 gave him a share of 14th place overall.

Seniors John Christensen and captain Mike Shore rounded out the Crimson competitors. Shore shot +21 on the weekend, good for 36th, while Christensen shave strokes off each of his previous days finishes, ultimately finishing at +24 at the 37th spot.

—Staff writer Dixon McPhillips can be reached at fmcphill@fas.harvard.edu.

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