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In its final tune-up before the Ivy League Championship in two weeks, the Harvard men’s golf team made the trek to Princeton, N.J., to take part in the Princeton Invitational. After two rounds of play Saturday and Sunday, the Crimson emerged from the pack of 15 schools with a second-place finish.
Playing one round on both Saturday and Sunday, the Crimson ended day one locked in a tie for third place with Yale. In round two, Harvard put together a four-over 288 to leapfrog Columbia and secure sole possession of the runner-up slot.
The No. 20 Duke Blue Devils led from the get-go, firing round scores of 274 and 269, the latter of which was good for 15-under par. Duke concluded play 34 strokes ahead of its nearest competition. Finishing one shot behind Harvard was a trio of schools—Yale, No. 42 Georgia Tech, and host Princeton.
The Bulldogs were a model of consistency, shooting five-over 289’s in each of the two rounds.
“It’s always been important for us to strike a balance in terms of the schools we go up against,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “It’s nice to play against Ivy schools because that’s our best gauge to see where we are. But we know if we had more opportunities to play outdoors we could be closer to the level of the more competitive teams.”
Penn, Cornell, and Brown also took part in the invite, making Dartmouth the only Ancient Eight program absent. The Quakers took home 10th place overall, while the Big Red and Bears placed 13th and 14th, respectively. Also finishing in the top 10 were Rutgers, Georgetown, and Seton Hall.
The tournament took place at the Springdale Golf Club. The course, which measures at 6,380 yards, played at par-71 for the weekend. The course features three par-fives holes and four par-threes to go along with its 11 par-four holes.
The Crimson as a team recorded the most hole scores of even par, registering 124, two more than Seton Hall.
On the individual side, the Blue Devils occupied each of the top three positions on the leaderboard. Alex Smalley won the individual crown at eight-under. The freshman was followed closely by teammates Jake Shuman and No. 98 Max Greyserman, both at seven-under. Duke’s No. 37 Adam Wood ended tied for ninth at even par.
Harvard captain Rohan Ramnath finished in fifth place at three below par, sandwiched between Li Wang of Yale and Marc Hedrick of Princeton. Ramnath carded the second lowest score on par-threes behind T.J. Summers of St. Joseph’s.
“We’re quite prepared and moving along our progression basically the way that I want us to,” Rhoads said. “We have a little bit of work to do on greens, trying to get on fast greens that are breaking and convert our putts a little bit more.”
Junior Robert Deng walked away tied for 16th at plus-two. Freshman Aurian Capart and sophomore Greg Royston were part of a tie for 32nd, ending play six-over-par.
Royston shot four-under on par-five holes, the third-best tally of any player. He trailed only Temple’s Trey Wren and Georgia Tech’s Vince Whaley in that category.
Rounding out the squad for Harvard was junior Kendrick Vinar, one shot behind Capart and Royston.
“It’s important we were able to have a strong finish in our last tournament before Ivy Championship,” Ramnath said. “We’re definitely feeling a lot of confidence with our game…we just feel good about what we’re doing.”
Next up on the schedule for the Crimson is a trip to Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson, N.J. two weeks from now for Ivy League Championships.
“We’ve gotten better every single year since I’ve been here,” Ramnath said. “Everyone continues to work hard. We’ve always been a talented team, but I think this group has a really good mindset.”
—Staff writer Jed Rothstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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