The Harvard golf team will depart today for New Brunswick, N.J., and a chance at the ECAC fall title. A practice round will be held this afternoon in preparation for the 18-hole tournament tomorrow.
Harvard should be a definite contender in the 12-to-15 team field, along with other Ivy powers Dartmouth, Princeton and Yale.
Co-captains Steve McConnel and Tom Yellin will be making the New Brunswick trip along with Chip Ricketts, John Bartlett, and either Peter Zurkow or Alex Vik, who were tied after yesterday's final qualifying round.
Harvard won its chance to compete in the fall ECAC by its third-place showing in last Thursday's Regional Qualifying tournament at the Ferncroft Country Club in Topsfield. Salem State, playing its home course, won with an impressive four-man total of 305. Dartmouth finished second with 329. Harvard, represented by McConnell, Ricketts, Yellin, Gary Hemphill and Hank Bannister, lagged behind at 342.
Normally only the first two teams qualify for the fall ECAC's; since Salem State played its home course, however, Harvard, as the third-place finisher, was considered eligible.
Yellin, who was two strokes off the individual lead with a 78, blamed Harvard's bad score partly on the adverse weather conditions. "It was windy and cold, and the course was fairly tough. We were disappointed with our showing, but out of the 90 players there, only five broke 80."
Harvard was also at a disadvantage in last week's qualifying tournament because the team hadn't yet finished its own qualifying rounds. Most of the schools competing started their sports programs the first week of September. Due to Harvard's late calendar, the golf team is not able to get a practice edge on its opponents. Tomorrow that problem should be solved.
Yellin said last night "We have the ability to win this tournament, if everyone plays up to potential. We want to win, but it isn't part of our regular spring season. It's important for us, but not for the record. In other words, the fall is for show, the spring is for dough."