It took a Good Humor man to pull it off, but the Harvard golf team sidestepped the obscurity of a tie yesterday, winning its dual match with Dartmouth by two strokes and building general hopes for a victory in the NCAA Division One tournament later this week.
Co-captain Chip Raffi, dressed entirely in white, snatched his team from the drooling jaws of defeat when his less-than-stellar 84 proved superior to Dartmouth's sixth-place 86.
In regular match play, the top five scores are added to find the team totals. But yesterday, after five scores, Harvard and Dartmouth stood tied at 395.
So it fell to Raffi, the self-styled "Ajax man," to turn the tide of tie-dom into a victory or a loss. And he did it, despite "the ugly layoff at the top of my swing," which he blamed for his high score.
"I have to cure that before the NCAAs if I want to save face," Raffi said later, enroute to a team meeting at a local bowling center.
The victory proved the Crimson has no need to fear the Big Green, one of the ten teams entered in the NCAA playoffs, which begin Thursday at Potowomut Country Club in West Warwick, R.I.
"I felt we could beat Dartmouth before we tied it up," coach Dick Crosby said yesterday, pointing out, "We're a better team."
The other teams to crush are Providence and the University of Rhode Island, both of whom have beaten the Crimson by slim margins this season. Sophomore Jon Mose predicted that if everyone is in top form, Harvard should sweep the tournament.
From the wilds of West Warwick, it's on to the sunny sandtraps of Palo Alto for the championship round of the NCAAs. No one is as recklessly confident about that match, although everyone is sure Harvard will be present for the action. "Let's win the Easterns and see what happens from there," Crosby said.