Second-Day Rains Hamper Crimson

Harvard falls from third to sixth after tough Yale course gets wet

The Harvard men’s golf team swung its way to a promising start, holding third place after one round at the MacDonald Cup this weekend. But the grind of 54 holes and soggy skies took their toll on the team, which settled for sixth place.

“It was alright, nothing really spectacular,” junior Danny Mayer said. “We played pretty well the first round, and we kind of didn’t play well the last two rounds. Overall, it wasn’t that great of a performance.”

Ivy rival Yale played host over the grueling weekend and finished second—eight shots behind the University of Oklahoma, who won the event. The Crimson’s 892-shot weekend (290-298-304) put it 32 shots away from the Cup. Dartmouth, the only other Ivy in attendance, finished ninth, shooting 905 (304-290-311).

“The first day was really physically exhausting, and Yale is a very undulating course, so you’re constantly walking up and down hills,” Mayer said. “It was really strenuous.”

At the close of the demanding weekend, junior Greg Shuman led the Crimson, finishing in ninth place as an individual out of a field of 79. An impressive first round set the bar high for the junior’s weekend. Eagling the 16th, Shuman was one of four players to pick up two shots on that hole. He carded 69-73-75 over the long weekend.

“The first round, Greg played real solid, and although he didn’t have his best game the next couple rounds, he held it together with good putting,” Mayer said.

Yesterday’s final round was Harvard’s biggest challenge. Teeing off at intervals between seven a.m. and nine a.m. after playing 36 tournament holes the day before, players were soon soaked by a deluge that eventually delayed play and then amped up the difficulty of the already arduous Yale course once play resumed. Scores from day three, in some cases, were swollen by the wet weather.

“For the first hour, we were playing in the rain,” freshman Mark Pollak said. “We were sopping wet, and then we were called back in and then sent back out to play with wet clubs and grips. The course played at least 300 yards longer than the first two rounds.”

Add that to the Yale course that is sometimes named among the top 100 most difficult courses in the world, and you’ve got a formidable physical and mental endurance test.

“The Yale course is a tough course with lots of blind shots,” Pollak said. “It’s pretty difficult to judge where the hole locations are or find the greens.”

“It was tough to get the ball to back pins—when it hit the greens it just stuck there,” Mayer added.

Behind Shuman, Pollak tied for 20th in his second tournament appearance. Turning in a very respectable 223 (70-76-77), Pollak delivered a solid performance despite his relative inexperience.

Rounding out the Harvard contingent, Mayer tied for 29th place, 78-73-75, senior John Christensen shot 77-76-77, and captain Michael Shore shot 74-78-84.

Harvard was one of two teams to bring players to play as individuals. Four traveled with the team and played the course, though their scores would not count for the Crimson total.

“We took nine overall, five as part of the team, and the rest just to gain experience and to evaluate everyone’s game in a tournament setting,” Mayer said.

Playing as an individual, freshman Tony Grillo knocked out an impressive 15th place, shooting 71-73-75. Sophomore Louis Amira put in a less consistent 81-69-75, freshman Connor Wentzell turned in a 74-73-83, and junior Peter Singh shot 75-75-83.

“It was very cool,” Pollak said. “You get the support of nine guys rather than four guys, and though they don’t contribute to the team scores, they contribute to the team atmosphere and encouragement.”

—Staff writer Elizabeth A. Joyce can be reached at