Despite rain-shortened play, the Harvard men’s golf team finished second out of 11 teams at the Macdonald Cup in New Haven, Conn. The Crimson ended the tournament one stroke behind host team Yale.
“We were pleased with our performance this weekend and ability to withstand the conditions,” captain Akash Mirchandani said. “That said, losing by one stroke leaves a bitter taste in our mouths.”
All the golfers that counted towards Harvard’s score shot within a six-stroke range. Junior Rohan Ramnath and sophomore Robert Deng paced the team with two-day scores of one-over-par (141). While Ramnath shot a 71 in the first round and an even par in the second, Deng had a more varied showing. After scoring four-over-par on the first day, he rebounded with a team-low of 67 on Sunday. Mirchandani finished third on the team with a total score of four-over-par.
“It’s a very motivated group, very ambitious,” head coach Kevin Rhoads said. “They’re hungry, and they want to do well.”
Teams had planned to play 36 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday, but torrential rain on the first day of the tournament caused golfers to take shelter in the middle of the first round. At the time, Harvard golfers had played between 11 and 14 holes. Mirchandi noted that there were sizable puddles on the green when he left the course.
“It’s something that we do talk about quite a bit—about things that we can’t control versus things that we can,” Rhoads said. “I think the team had a very healthy mindset going into Sunday.”
After the postponement of play on Saturday, officials elected to shorten the cup from 54 holes to 36. On Sunday, teams finished the round from the day before and played another 18 holes.
In addition to canceling one round of golf, the wet course affected play throughout the weekend. For the first holes of the tournament, the team had to deal with soaked greens and low visibility.
“Weather is always a fun variable because it is completely variable,” Rhoads said. “Even if there’s a forecast, it may mean that you start out and have a delay. It might be five minutes, or it might be three hours.”
Eleven teams filled out the Macdonald Cup field, including Ancient Eight rivals Brown, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. A notable absence from the group was the University of Illinois, which came in first last year.
The second-place showing in New Haven came one weekend after the first place finish at the Queechee Club Invitational. In that event, the Crimson benefited from the hot play of freshmen Greg Royston and Hale Furey to capture first. As individuals, Royston and Furey finished second and fourth respectively. This week, Royston also put in a strong performance with a score of five-over-par, which placed him tied for fourth on the team with sophomore Daniel De La Garza.
“Whenever you’re being successful, it’s not necessarily something that you’ve done recently,” Rhoads said. “Success is a product of work that [the team has] been doing for a while. It’s just showing more and more.”
The Crimson struggled to find its footing early in the season with middle-of-the-pack finishes at the Doc Gimmler and Wolverine Intercollegiate tournaments. Yet Rhoads and others insisted that with the recent victories, the team has turned a corner.
“The last handful of weeks has been a better representation of where we are as a program,” Rhoads said. “People have gotten back in track within the team structure.”
The Crimson will have an opportunity to avenge its second place finish to Yale in two weeks time, when the two teams meet for a dual meet.
“The guys very much believe in what we’re doing and how we’re going about it,” Rhoads said. “[This weekend] is reaffirming—it lets them know that they’re very much on the right track.”
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