Competing in its final tournament of the season, the Harvard men’s golf team capped its 2013-2014 campaign with a third-place finish at the Ivy League Championships this weekend. The Crimson shot an 895 over three rounds, finishing 55 strokes over par.
Nonetheless, while the team fell short of first, one Harvard golfer stood above the rest. In his final match as a member of the Crimson, captain Theodore Lederhausen brought home the individual Ivy title, shooting a five-over 215. He finished tied atop the leaderboard with Brown’s Nelson Hargrove.
“[Lederhausen's] game was really sharp,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “His distance control with his irons was the best that I’ve kind of seen [from] anybody. He really had control over his approach shots onto the greens, which made scoring so much easier than most people found it.”
Fresh off his second-place finish at the Yale Invitational last weekend, Lederhausen shot a 72 in both of the first two rounds, before finishing with a one-over 71 on Sunday. With the win, the senior became just the third golfer in team history to take first place at the Ivy League Championships and the first since 1998.
After winning its last two tournaments, the Crimson carried its momentum into the first round at Baltusrol Golf Club on Friday. Harvard shot a 299 on the day, putting the team in a tie atop the leaderboard with Dartmouth.
Saturday, the Crimson had to fight off difficult weather conditions, including three rain delays occurring after most of the other teams had already finished. Harvard still bested its opening round score by six strokes with a 293, but the score actually sent the team in the opposite direction, as the Crimson fell two spots to third.
“We got a little bit of a bad break with [the weather],” Lederhausen said. “But the second day, we still played pretty well.... Guys played pretty well on a tough course.”
Columbia seized control of the leaderboard on Saturday with a four-under 276 performance in the second round. The Lions entered the day three strokes behind Harvard, but with four of its players shooting at or under par on the day, they leaped well ahead of the Crimson and 11 strokes ahead of Yale, who moved into second.
“Columbia had a round in the second round that I didn’t think was out there for a team,” Rhoads said. “I thought one or two players could have that strong of a round at one time from one tee, but to have four out of the five do it when they needed it the most, [that] was an amazing performance.”
Sunday brought little change to the leaderboard, as the three sides cemented their positions amidst a rainy final round. Harvard posted its highest stroke total of the tournament, as did Columbia and Yale, with the three shooting a 303, a 303, and a 304, respectively.
After Lederhausen, freshman Robert Deng notched the Crimson’s next best score at the tournament. The rookie shot a 14-over 224, highlighted by a two-over 72 in the second round, finishing tied for 13th.
Also making his first appearance in the conference championship, freshman Kendrick Vinar posted an 18-over 228, joining junior teammate Akash Mirchandani in a tie for 18th place. Vinar shot a 73, a 76, and a 79 over the weekend, while Mirchandani notched a 78, a 73, and a 77.
Rounding out the Harvard squad was sophomore Rohan Ramnath. The sophomore won an individual title his last time out at Yale, but he could not keep his hot streak going this weekend. Ramnath shot a 28-over 238, putting him in a tie for 35th.
Although the Crimson failed to earn its third straight victory of the season, its third-place finish marks the best result Harvard has earned at the Ivy Championships since 1996. In the tournament’s 88-year history, the Crimson has only has won the title once—in 1968.
On the year, Harvard won two team tournaments, three individual titles, and finished in the top four at all but one of its eight competitions. Rhoads said that it has certainly been an extremely successful season.
“To set program records and see results is really fun and satisfying, but even more [satisfying is] the foundation that we’ve continued to lay,” Rhoads said. “With the core of guys that we have on the team, we’re extremely deep, we’re very, very talented…and I think we’ve set ourselves up for next year and the years to come to be a really strong force.”
—Staff writer Jake T. Meagher can be reached at email@example.com.