With the memory of last year’s second place finish still fresh, the Harvard men’s golf team returned to Bethpage State Park Golf Course this past weekend to make another run for the tournament title. The Crimson was unable to repeat last year’s strong finish, placing sixth at the Doc Gimmler tournament.
“This is a venue that we like a lot,” coach Kevin Rhoads said. “We did really well here last year. Going into [this weekend], we knew that when we’re sharp, we have the capability to play really well and have a lot of success on this course.”
Though the team started off strong in Friday’s morning round, the Crimson soon fell out of contention, as Harvard struggled to find its rhythm in the second and third rounds of the tournament.
“In the afternoon, we kind of let the others catch up with us a bit,” Rhoads said. “We were a little less sharp, and I think that was a hangover of being out of practice this summer. We were a little bit less technically sharp and just weren’t quite as on point.”
For junior Rohan Ramnath, it was the exact opposite. Ramnath began slow, carding a triple bogey in the first round. Following the tough start, the junior managed to claw his way back in the second round and fired a 67, a team low for the round. Ramnath held onto that momentum to finish the weekend under par.
“I honestly don’t think he changed anything at all, and I think thats how he came back,” sophomore Kendrick Vinar said. “He did a great job of not allowing the disappointment of a bad start affect his composure in the least. Sometimes the rounds that are challenging like that are a better reflection of your playing ability than the rounds where everything goes well.”
The Crimson fell to sixth place in the tournament, tying with Columbia. Yale notched first place, while Loyola Maryland claimed Harvard’s spot from last year, finishing in second.
“I think we had a really long day that first day, and a lot of us were feeling it,” Vinar said. “All the guys gave it their all, but everyone’s going to struggle at some point on the golf course and we just happened to all see that in the same round.”
The sluggish second and third rounds were a follow-up to a very successful first round for the Crimson, in which the entire squad managed to shoot under par, with each golfer registering a score between 69 and 72. These strong scores allowed the Crimson to clinch a second place position heading into the next round.
“The first round went generally well for us,” Rhoads said. “Shooting in that [69-72] range is a really solid set of scores for us, so I really liked where we were after the first morning.”
Two standouts in the first round were Vinar and captain Akash Mirchandani, with each golfer shooting under par. Vinar managed to hold on to his momentum until the very end of the competition. With this strong showing, Vinar notched a fifth place individual finish after a final-round 65, shooting five under par on the weekend.
“We know that we lost some ground in the afternoon,” Rhoads said. “[It] was a little unfortunate, but I know that we were still giving the best we had on the course. What I care about most is giving the best that we can give with what we have every time we are out there on the course, and I think that’s what we did.”
—Staff writer Jillian Dukes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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