NEW HAVEN, Conn.--Spence Fitzgibbons and Jim Dales rose at 6:15 a.m., gulped down some eggs done lightly over, and hopped into a car to head out to the Yale golf course. They turned on the car radio and the first song that blared out was "Riders on the Storm," by Jim Morrison and the Doors.
The Harvard linksters rode out the storm here on Friday, teeing up in pelting rain and 40-ish temperatures on a course whose fairways seemed to flap in the wind, like ribbons in a schoolgirl's hair.
The golfers circumnavigated the 6647-yard, par-70 layout in 674 strokes for the two-day, 36-hole New England NCAA Qualifying Tournament. They finished sixth in the 12-school field. Yale, which went into Friday's round with a 13-stroke lead, continued to chart a straight and narrow course over its home 18, winning the tourney with a 636 team aggregate. The Elis thus earned a berth in the NCAAs, which will be held at Eugene, Ore., this June 7-10.
Harvard swabbed in a regular season match at The Country Club, but the Crimson quintet walked the plank on Thursday, with dismal rounds of 82, 82, 86, 92 and 92, which took them out of contention despite a better showing on Friday. Dartmouth finished second with a team total of 654 strokes, followed by Holy Cross, URI and UMass.
Yale's number-one man, Peter Teravainen, won the individual title for the second year running, with rounds of 76 and 74. The premier collegiate golfer in New England intends to turn pro in the fall. Dartmouth's Joe Henley was the runner-up with a brace of 77s, and Holy Cross's Dave Castellani was third with 83-72-155.
Teravainen swashbuckled his way to five birdies on Friday, his first coming on the second hole, and his last on the par-five 16th. His birdies included the ninth, one of the most famous and breathtaking par threes in the world. The hole, which measured more than 230 yards on Friday, requires a sheer carry over water from the elevated crows-nest tee to a double decker green. Teravainen whaled on a two-iron and sunk his "oceanliner," one of those long, undulating putts, for his birdie.
The two best scores for Harvard were posted by Dave Paxton and Glenn Alexander, who shot identical rounds of 82-81-163. Alexander three-putted the first two holes for bogeys, but began to zero in on the cup in his back nine.
Paxton had back-to-back birdies on the par-three 15th and par-five 16th. His two-iron sucked up to the flagstick on 15, and he got home in two on the 16th, smashing a three-wood onto the elevated, redan green which typifies this course. Paxton then slipped to double-bogeys on the next two holes, spraying teeshots into the woods on 17 and the 583-yard 18th.
Fitzgibbons fired an 84 after an opening 92. He got off to a shaky start, double-bogeying the first two holes, but regained his sea legs before the downpour tapered off as the morning wore on. Dales went around in 87.
Captain Alex Vik, who along with Paxton was playing his last round for Harvard, shot his second straight 86. Vik found a watery grave on the sixth hole, where he had a nine. His second shot dunked into the creek that runs down the left side of the fairway. He rolled up his trousers and took a swipe at the immersed ball, but only managed to nudge it a little farther upstream. He finally splashed his fourth shot onto terra firma.
The NCAA qualifying tourney marked the 1978 finale for the Harvard golf team. It was a sea-going season for the linksters--it had its crests and its troughs.