NEW HAVEN--The Crimson linksters spent a sleepless night here at the New Haven Motor Inn imagining their blankets were links of eiderdown as each fairway billowed and twisted with every toss and turn.
It was one big nightmare for the Crimson at the Yale golf course yesterday. After the first round of the two-day 36-hole New England NCAA Qualifying tournament, the Harvard quintet took tenth out of a 12-school field.
Charles Blair MacDonald, one of the pioneer American golf course architects, who designed the Yale 18 back in the '20s, was a man who believed in making a golfer sweat to earn his par. Yesterday, pars were few and far between.
Harvard wrapped up a team total of 344 strokes, far behind front-runner Yale, whose five-man team aggregate was 314. Dartmouth and the University of Rhode Island were tied for second at 327. Only the winning squad goes to the NCAA championships, which are played in June at Eugene, Ore.
The only two players on the leader board for the Crimson were Glenn Alexander and Dave Paxton, who wobbled in with a pair of 82s. Alexander took a quadruple bogey on the par-three ninth, a tribute to the fiendish propensities of C.B. MacDonald. This famed hole requires a long carry of Greis Pond, to a spit of green bisected by a moraine. Alexander tried to putt out of the gully, but didn't stroke it quite hard enough and his ball rolled right back down.
After four putts, he settled for a seven.
Yale's Peter Teravainen was the first round leader with a four-over 76. His teammate Jim Warner was one stroke off the pace, tied with B.C.'s John McCann and Dartmouth's Joe Henley.
Harvard's Alex Vik carded an 86, marred by a ten on the 16th hole. His drive bounded into the woods, putting him "in jail." He took a lusty cut with his second shot, decimating a colony of beetles and cutting a yard-long swath through a dandelion patch in the process. The stung ball scooted into the clear, hit a rock and ricocheted skyward, landing well behind the bewildered Vik.
Spence Fitzgibbons and Jim Dales fired woebegone rounds of 92, with a number of their shots resembling the trajectory of quail who have been shot down in mid-flight. Dales also took a seven on the ninth, hitting a pair of tee-shots that will remain forever at the bottom of Greis Pond.
The real undoing of the linksters, however, was the Yale greens, which were akin to thread-bare Gobelin tapestries. While dining at D'Andrea's restaurant after the debacle, Fitzgibbons rapped his fist down in the midst of practicing wedge shots with his spoon on a hot fudge sundae and said: "It was like hitting onto this table--absolute concrete." After leaving D'Andrea's, Paxton put a penny in the scale in the lobby and got his fortune. The scale told the tale: "Change quickly if you are headed up the wrong alley (or fairway)."