Golf | Jumbos disappointed with Johnson & Wales Invitational results
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 08:10
The men’s golf team continued its struggles this past weekend, finishing sixth in the field of eight at the Johnson & Wales University Invitational.
The par-71 Cranston Country Club was especially unforgiving on Friday. Temperatures were in the low 40s and rainy, conditions that pushed the golfers to their limits, affecting the flight of the ball and making it hard for the players to remain consistent.
The harsh weather translated directly into the high scores for all the competitors. The individual winner of the tournament, Rhode Island College’s Ryan Butler, shot a 13-over-par 155 for the two days. RIC was also the winning team and its two-day total was 621, 53 strokes over par.
The Jumbos were not immune to the hardships of the conditions. They finished the weekend in sixth place with a 95-over-par 663.
But although the 42-stroke differential between Tufts and Rhode Island is large, the final position does not tell the whole story.
The Jumbos were only one stroke behind fifth-place Suffolk University and three strokes behind fourthplace Nichols College. If the team had managed to cut just four strokes from their final score they would have cracked the top half of the playing field for the first time this year. And even though they did not do so, the team’s morale still remained high because of signs of improvement with some players—notably sophomore co-captain Alex Zorniger, whose 77 on Saturday was one of the better scores of the weekend.
“It’s good to have big Al back from summer vacation finally,” said coach Bob Sheldon, in reference to Zorniger’s solid weekend.
Meanwhile, freshman Jay Wong was once again the Jumbos’ star player, finishing tied for seventh overall with a two-day total of 158. Despite his performance, Wong wanted more out of the team’s results.
“We went into this tournament hoping that we could finish really well,” Wong said. “But after what were probably the toughest conditions of the season on Friday, we finished with a less than ideal 339.”
That 339 was not the worst team score of the day, but it was far behind RIC’s pace-setting 312 score. As has been the story all year, the golf team put itself in a hole after day one, and, despite the comeback efforts of the team, did not recover on day two.
“We are just lacking consistency,” said Wong. “We cannot seem to string together four decent rounds in one day. Alex stepped up big for us on Saturday, and hopefully we’ll have more efforts like that two weeks from now at New England’s.”
Zorniger finished his weekend tied for 13th with a 161. Sophomore John Wawer contributed consistency in the form of a 85/83 split that tied him for 21st overall. Senior Ben Saperstein rounded out the scores with two-day 176.
In a unusual turn of events, freshman Brendan Koh’s first-round score was omitted because he played the wrong ball. This disqualification did not affect the team’s overall score, however, because only the top four scores from each day are counted.
Despite its struggles, the team appears to have not lost its confidence or good spirit.
“We got beaten by a school that is known for its culinary prowess and it didn’t feel good,” Zorniger said. “All summer I’m going to be working for that victory dinner they owe us.”
The men’s golf team will play in its last tournament of the fall season, the New England Championship, two weekends from now on Oct. 28-29. It will be held at Captains’ Course in Brewster, Mass.