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The Crimson linksmen uncorked five sub-80 rounds on the verdant but waterlogged Hickory Ridge Golf Club yesterday to tie for second after the first round of play in the 36-hole Tom Toski Invitational Tournament at Amherst.
Harvard shot a team aggregate score of 302, as did UMass, to finish three strokes behind frontrunner Southern Connecticut State in the 21 school field.
"I really think we're capable of playing better than we did," Crimson coach Bob Donovan said. "We're going to be three shots off the lead and that's a good position to be in for tomorrow."
The co-leaders for Harvard were Captain Alex Vik and two year letterman Spence Fitzgibbons, who both rifled 74's. Senior Dave "Paducah" Paxton carded a 77 while freshman Brett Johnson went around in a seven-over par 79. George Arnold had his round stopped by darkness after 17 holes of play but had a 73 going into the 18th.
The first round medialist was Southern Connecticut's Billy Day, who strung together six birdies for a 67, which in the words of Fitzgibbons "is an outrageous round."
Avoiding the creek that snakes circuitously through Hickory Ridge, Fitzgibbons hit 15 greens in regulation. "I hit the ball dynamite," Fitzgibbons said. "I was all over the stick but putted like a moron."
Almost is not Enough
Fitzgibbons three-putted three greens and babied a brace of five-foot putts short. He parlayed birdies on the first and third holes to finish at two-over.
Vik also made a couple of miscues that probably cost him any chance he had to beat out Day for medalist honors. He foozled a yard-long putt on the third hole and botched another short one on 18. On the 12th hole, Vik was distracted by some unruly teenagers in the middle of his backswing and skulled a seven iron.
Arnold started off by blazing to a one-over par after the front nine but then ran into trouble. For Johnson, it was his first varsity debut, "Brett shot a 79 but that was really kind of terrible for Brett," Donovan said.
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