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The strongest quintet of linksters in recent Crimson history uncorked five sub-80 rounds yesterday in the Yale Golf Tournament at New Haven, but were still trailing frontrunner Princeton by ten strokes after first-round play in the 36-hole tournament.
"This is the first one of the year and really it's probably the biggest tournament of the fall," Harvard golf coach Bob Donovan said, as the event attracted a field of 135 players.
The Tigers netted a team aggregate of 300 strokes while Temple and the University of West Virginia were tied for second, one stroke back. Dartmouth went around in 306 as a team while the Crimson was in the midst of a throng of contenders at 310.
Captain Alex Vik led the Crimson's foray on the Charles Blair McDonald layout, which is one of the oldest and most illustrious courses in America, shooting a four over par 74. Princeton 6 ft., 10 in. number one man Bruce Samaklis took the first day medalist honors with a 69 followed by his Yale counterpart Peter Tervainen, who carded a 72.
The remaining four Crimson linksters were bunched together as soph George Arnold shot a 78 and Jim Dales, Spence Fitzgibbons and freshman Glenn Alexander all strung together 79's.
Vik and his teammates all threw away a few strokes to par over the Yale course's front nine before settling down coming into the clubhouse. Vik took a bogey when his three foot putt curled out on the fourth, he three putted number six, and had another par putt lip out on seven.
On the ninth, a draconian par three of 230 yards with a mammoth green guarded by water, Vik bunkered a three-wood shot after almost aceing the same hole on Thursday in a practice round.
Alexander, playing in his first match ever for Harvard, started off by methodically parring four of the first five holes, but then his iron game went on the skids. After birdieing 11, he lost a ball on the final hole and needed a double bogey seven.
A native of Southfield, Michigan and a high school golf All American, Alexander, according to Donovan, "is going to challenge Alex very, very seriously."
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