The Harvard men’s golf team was in striking distance throughout the weekend, just four strokes off the lead entering the final day of competition at the MacDonald Cup.
But the Crimson couldn’t make up any ground on Sunday, beginning and ending the day in fifth place. Harvard shot a 572 (+12) in the tournament, finishing eight behind host Yale.
Overall, the Crimson finished behind Hartford, St. John’s, and Notre Dame along with the Bulldogs.
“One of our goals this year was to be in contention a few times going into the last day to feel the pressure of trying to win,” junior captain Theo Lederhausen said. “We definitely were in that position [Sunday]. We certainly had a chance and didn’t lose by much, so any weekend where you get close to winning like that is a good weekend moving forward.”
Fifteen teams competed at the Course at Yale in New Haven, which was recently named the No. 1 college golf course in America by Golfweek magazine. Conditions were difficult during the weekend, with the practice round cancelled on Friday due to 1 ½ inches of rain.
“When we teed off, the ball was just going to hit the ground and stop, so you are losing a lot of distance,” junior Seiji Liu said. “That really changed the way you are going to approach this course, so we just recalculated our strategy, and it worked out. It paid off for us.”
Liu was the overall top scorer for Harvard, shooting one-under-par 139 after an even-par 70 on Sunday. He was tied for the second in the tournament with Bulldog junior Brad Kushner and trailing the individual leader junior Niall Platt of Notre Dame by one stroke.
“I just focused a lot on process and control and staying in the zone,” Liu said. “I was very sharp mentally this weekend, and that contributed a lot to tackling this difficult course that we normally have trouble with, so it was nice to be able to execute on that.”
Sophomore Akash Mirchandani displayed consistency over the weekend, shooting a 71 (+1) in both rounds for an overall 142, good for a tie for 15th overall.
Lederhausen completed his final round shooting a 70 to finish tied for 22nd place with 143 (+3).
“I stayed even-keeled pretty well throughout the weekend, and I definitely fought it out,” Lederhausen said. “I had a knee injury that I was dealing with; [Saturday] was really difficult [as] I was in a lot of pain, but I just kept playing solid and fought it out.”
Freshman Un Cho finished the second round with a score of 78, eight strokes higher than his first-round performance. That moved him into a tie for 39th place overall at eight over.
“[Sunday] he might have felt a little more pressure, which is understandable,” Lederhausen said. “His driving has been sometimes a little inconsistent throughout the season, so that caused him some problems today, but other than that I thought he played great.”
Junior Kevin McCarthy, who finished fifth among the Harvard golfers both days and therefore did not factor into the scoring, tied for 67th place at 14 over.
Rain shortened the originally scheduled 54-holes, as an 18-hole round was cancelled on Saturday and the field set out to play one single round for the day.