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The Crimson linksters unfurled four sub-80 rounds over the Springdale Golf course yesterday, but nonetheless lost of three strokes to host squad Princeton in a spinetingling "Big Three" showdown.
The Crimson came in seeking a modicum of revenge for their earlier nine-stroke defeat at the hands of the Tigers in the Ivy League championship. At one point the linksmen were nurturing a nine-stroke lead and, with six out of seven players in the clubhouse, Harvard was still clinging to a one-stroke edge.
In the final match of the day, Princeton's Bryan Miller carded a 76 to buoy his team to victory, as Harvard's number seven man Peter Smith incurred a ruinous triple bogey on the way to an 80. Yale finished a distant third, eight strokes off the Crimson's pace.
Harvard's number two man Spence Fitzgibbons was the medalist for the match, humbling the 6380 Springdale layout with six birdies for a one under par 70. Captain Alex Vik posted a 74 while Dave Paxton and Ron Himmelman shot 78 and 79, respectively.
Zebras, Slews Seagoers
Fitzgibbons had his share of seagoers, rolling in a slew of long putts over the rippling greens with his center-shafted, zebra-brand putter.
He started out on his trail-blazing round by clipping his ball with a sand wedge as cleanly as a dandelion head and then sinking a tap-in for par. On the third hole he had "an unreal par," punching a shot from overarching tree limbs while down on his knees.
He began gobbling up long putts in earnest on the back side, holding out for birdies on 12, 14, 16, and 17. On the 389-yard 12th, he needed only a sand wedge into the green after catching his drive flush. On the par-three 16th, Fitzgibbons sent his tee shot skittering just past the flagstick on the pocket handkerchief of a green and proceeded to roll in the comeback putt.
His most spectacular par came on number 17. His second shot beckoned for a 7-iron, but Spencer had somehow lost the club in transit. Instead, he laced an 8-iron onto the green and then stared down a 35-putt into the cup.
Alex Vik was less fortunate in negotiating the dog-eared Springdale greens, going four over by three-putting on the second through fourth holes.
While Mike Whiting, Bruce Samaklis and Walter Morgan Reeled off rounds of 72, 74, and 76 for the Tigers, the real blow to the Crimson's victory chances was the 76 fired by Miller. Miller, a freshman from Kansas who plays out of the home club of Tom Watson, had not even played in the Ivy League tournament.
Before a Fall
Both Harvard and Yale were undefeated in dual matches before yesterday. Princeton's record is now 4-4. Both Penn and Columbia upset Princeton when a number of Tiger starters missed the match.
The Crimson linksmen will play a round at West Point today in preparation for the Eastern golf championship, which will be held there later in the season. Monday the squad will try to regain the Greater Boston Championship title from Boston College, which the linksters have already beaten this year.
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