They say you can’t win a championship on the first day—but you can lose it.
This became all too apparent to the Harvard men’s golf team this past weekend at the Ivy League Championships at Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, N.J.
Though the Crimson’s golfers were able to shoot well in the second and third round, Harvard’s first-round hole proved too deep to escape.
“It was a big disappointment,” junior Mark Pollak said.
Yale, whom the Crimson had beaten the weekend before, took the Ancient Eight championship, stopping Columbia’s run of three straight titles. The Lions, who took second, finished 20 strokes back.
Harvard’s team score of a 324 on Friday put it in seventh after the opening round. Only Cornell, which shot a 330, fared worse.
“We haven’t been a very consistent team, and that really showed true in the tournament,” junior captain Tony Grillo said.
Only Pollak went below 80 in the first round, as the junior shot a 79. Rookie Theo Lederhausen shot an 81, Grillo and freshman Seiji Liu each shot an 82, and rookie Michael Lai shot an 89.
The team had trouble responding to challenging weather in the opening round.
“The course was really difficult—we had some bad weather,” Pollak said. “But the course rewarded good play ... It was very fair.”
But the Crimson was able to pick up its play on Saturday, and actually had the second-best round of the league’s competitors that day.
Only Columbia was able to top Harvard’s combined score of 310. The Lions shot 307. Three Crimson players—Pollak, Lederhausen, and Liu—broke 80, with Pollak once again leading the way, this time with a 75.
But the second round wasn’t nearly strong enough to compensate for Harvard’s struggles in the first round, and after two days of play, the Crimson found itself tied for sixth place with Brown.
Meanwhile, Penn had surged to first place overall after turning in a combined 619, with the Bulldogs trailing by one stroke at 620.
With Princeton and the Lions tied for third with 626 apiece, the stage seemed to be set for a four-team showdown for the title.