In golf, as in most sports, poor weather conditions often lead to worse performances. But for the Harvard men’s golf team, torrential downpours, strong winds, and cold weather led to an improved score on Sunday and also the low round of the day.
Thanks to this strong Sunday showing, Harvard finished second overall, behind Rhode Island, at this past weekend’s Century Intercollegiate, hosted by Yale in Purchase, N.Y.
“We were just playing golf. We were just thinking a lot less, not thinking so much about our swings and mechanics and just trusting what we have,” captain Tony Grillo said
Sophomore Seiji Liu, who won the same tournament last spring under similar conditions, also attributes the team’s success in bad weather to a developed mental approach.
“Our team has historically played very well in extremely brutal conditions,” Liu said. “[By] playing in the Northeast, we never get good weather that teams out west or down south experience, so it’s a lot about playing smart and grinding out scores.”
The Crimson finished Sunday with 301 strokes and a total of 606 on the weekend at +38 overall, six strokes behind Rhode Island. The Rams’ Branden Chicorka was the overall individual winner with a score of +1 for the entire weekend.
Leading the way for the Crimson were seniors Grillo and Mark Pollak, who both finished tied for fourth for the tournament. In the final round, Grillo and Pollak shot a 76 and 75, respectively, to both finish at +6.
Sophomore Theo Lederhausen shot a 74 on Sunday—a seven stroke improvement from Saturday—to finish tied for 12th place at +13.
Liu’s final round of 76 placed him tied for 20th for the weekend at +15. The sophomore, who won last year’s event, said that three bad holes cost him a similar finish this year and that the errors proved even more costly given the strength of the current competition.
“Making stupid mistakes is going to be a lot more penalizing than in years past, so it is going to be critical for all of us to be very smart about how we approach every shot in the course in general,” Liu said.
But Harvard was still able to finish ahead of every other Ivy in the tournament. Dartmouth’s Peter Williamson, last weekend’s winner at the Princeton Invitational, was the only golfer to finish ahead of Grillo and Pollak.
“The Ivy League has grown extremely deep over the years, and it’s a very good conference now,” Liu said. “It’s getting better every year.”
Crimson freshman Akash Mirchandani’s score of 77 placed him at 16th at +14, tied also with fellow teammate Michael Lai, who shot a 75 on Sunday playing as an individual.
Saturday’s conditions were not as brutal, but after one round of golf, Harvard found itself in fourth place with 305 strokes, nine strokes off first-place Rhode Island with Dartmouth and host Yale in second and third, respectively.
Leading the Crimson was Grillo, whose score of 72 for the first round was tied for second best on the day.