The Harvard men’s golf team joined thousands of college students as they traveled south to Florida for spring break. Only rather than party on a beach, their intentions were all business. Following a week of practices, the time in Florida culminated in a scrimmage against Lynn University on Thursday, March 16th. The Crimson would fall 4.5 to 3.5 in their first match of the spring season against the NCAA Division II’s second best team.
Though the match counted for nothing in terms of Harvard’s record, it was a great way for players to wear off the rust that had gathered over the extended period of time away from a playable golf course. It was also an opportunity for all eight teammates to compete for a spot to play in the team’s first tournament of the spring, the Furman Intercollegiate on March 24th, one of only three scheduled tournaments the team has this spring.
Against Lynn though, Harvard found quality competition. On the weekend, they squared off against some of the top golfers in the country, including Toto Gana out of Santiago, Chile. It was Gana who won the South American Amateur tournament, a victory that qualified him to compete for the green jacket in the US Masters next month.
On the Harvard side, junior Greg Royston, led the Crimson in terms of scoring, the South African shooting a 69. Royston and senior Robert Deng, who shot for a score of 73, are ranked as two of the top three players in the Ivy League coming into the spring season. For the Crimson, Deng is ranked number one and Royston number two.
“Greg is a guy that the team looks up to for leadership,” sophomore Aurian Capart said. “He worked very hard during the winter and it makes us happy to see his hard work pay off. He had a great day.”
Capart, a Brussels native, shot a 75 himself and the other sophomore, Seiya Liu, finished the scrimmage one shot better with a score of 74. Senior Kendrick Vinar shot a 73, while captain Daniel De La Garza shot for a score of 80. Freshman Ryan Rhee ended the match with 83 shots and fellow freshman Rij Patel finished up play with a score of 77.
Concerning the loss, Capart was not too worried. Instead, he noted the importance of getting this type of practice, real match practice, before the tournaments. And Capart knows the importance of performing at timely moments. In the Ivy League Championships last year his, and his teammates’, performance helped Harvard to claim its first Ivy League Championship in 41 years. However, he is quick to recognize the talent on the other side, particularly so at Lynn.
“These guys play all year, and we can see that in their play,” Capart said. “They have the sharpness that is hard to maintain from playing inside during the winter. There’s a reason why they are the best in their division.”
With the week of golf over, the players look forward to the tournament in Greenville this weekend, and on improving from the day out with the Lynn squad.
"It was a great day with a great group of guys from Lynn and scrimmaging with them definitely helped us figure out what we need to work on before the upcoming tournament next week," Liu said.
With the season concentrated in just three tournaments, scrimmages like this one give the Crimson a reality check, to see where they are individually and as a team.
Those traveling to South Carolina include Deng, Royston, Liu, Capart, and Vinar. They leave on Wednesday to prepare for the weekend tournament at Furman.
“The team performed really well considering it was our first match like situation in a while,” Capart said. “I think we can take many positives from the match with Lynn and the week in general. We are excited for the season to begin and we hope to keep improving throughout.”
—Staff writer Max McEvoy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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