Harvard Comes in Second at HYP
When Harvard, Yale, and Princeton last met on the links earlier this year for the Ivy League Championships, the Bulldogs cruised to a commanding victory, while the Tigers edged out the Crimson for fifth place. This past weekend’s match-play affair at the Sebonack Golf Club in Long Island, N.Y., told a different story: one in which Harvard was fighting for first, rather than lagging behind. Yale still won the overall event, as it won seven of 18 total matches, but this time it topped a refueled Crimson squad by only one match, 7.5-6.5. This time it was Princeton’s turn to bring up the rear.
“Our goal is to win, and we’re disappointed that we didn’t win,” Crimson senior Mark Pollak said.
Pollak, playing at No. 2, was the only Harvard golfer to win both of his matches.
“Picking up two wins was huge,” captain Tony Grillo said of Pollak. “He won one on the 16th hole and one on the 17th.”
Most golf matches follow the stroke-play format—in which players compete for the best cumulative score—but this past weekend’s tournament consisted of match play, in which points are awarded for winning individual holes.
Although many of the day’s matches were decided before the final hole, Crimson sophomore Seiji Liu’s match came down to the wire. Liu, playing at No. 5, halved his match against his Bulldog competitor; the pair beat the Tigers’ fifth-ranked golfer.
“We kept trading one up, one down,” Liu said. “It came down to the 18th hole. I was one up on Yale, but he made a lengthy putt ... to tie the match.”
According to Liu, the match-tying putt was one of many that the Yale golfer made over the course of the day.
“We both played extremely good golf,” Liu said. “It was just a testament to how Ivy League golf is improving. We’re just going to have to put in hard work and practice to reach our goals.”
Harvard junior Theo Lederhausen, playing at the No. 1 spot, and Crimson sophomore Kevin McCarthy, playing at the No. 6 spot, both defeated their opponents from Princeton, 1-up and 4 and 3, respectively, and lost to their opponents from Yale, 3 and 2 and 2-up, respectively.
Meanwhile, freshman Akash Mirchandani bested his competitor from Yale, 2 and 1, but fell to his opponent from Princeton, 5 and 4. The Tigers took only two of six matches from Harvard all day.
“I played pretty well, except for a few holes on the front side,” Mirchandani said. “The guy from Princeton was playing very well. He didn’t miss. I can’t complain too much. He was just on fire. I didn’t give it to him, but he won the match.”
Crimson captain Tony Grillo, playing at the No. 3 spot, lost both of his matches.
This was the second straight year when the squads have elected to open their fall seasons with a trip to Southampton, N.Y. Sebonack, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak, sits in a golf-rich area of Long Island along with the National Golf Links of America and the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course. Grillo noted that the team looks forward to the trip to the course, which was only built in 2006.
“It’s a fun tournament for us,” he said. “It’s a very good first tournament of the year.”
Grillo added that Sebonack, selected to host the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open, is a more challenging course than some of the others that the team plays over the course of the year.
While a win would certainly have given a confidence boost to a Harvard team looking to move its way up the Ivy rankings, there were plenty of positives from the outing, including the performances of Mirchandani and McCarthy, who both managed to defeat opponents in their first college tournaments. The Crimson heads back to Long Island this coming weekend to compete in The McLaughlin on the Red Course at Bethpage in Farmingdale, N.Y.
—Staff writer Christina C. McClintock can be reached at email@example.com.