Men’s Golf | Tufts takes fourth at Rhode Island College tournament
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 01:10
In its penultimate tournament of the fall season, the men’s golf team finished fourth out of eight teams at the Rhode Island College Fall Invitational on Friday. Led by junior Alex Zorniger, who shot a 77, Tufts finished with a team score of 330 in the one-day tournament, tied with Suffolk University, and 29 strokes behind tournament winner, Johnson and Wales University.
The tournament yielded mixed emotions, as the result was not what the team wanted against a less competitive field, but the performance of some younger players inspired confidence for the future.
“This was a weaker field of teams than what we’ve faced [in other tournaments this fall], so I don’t think this was necessarily our best performance. I think we’ve definitely played better in other tournaments,” Zorniger said. “Still, though, I think we turned a corner this last week, and that bodes well for the spring.”
The team, which was without junior John Wawer and sophomores Jay Wong and Brendan Koh, received admirable performances from freshman Ben Ruskin, classmate Adam Sneath, and senior David Carson, who all made their collegiate golf debuts on Friday.
“As a team, we weren’t thrilled with how we played, but considering that three of the five guys we brought had never played for the team before, that was maybe to be expected,” Ruskin said.
Though the team was dissatisfied with the final result, Tufts’ fourth-place finish was their highest in any tournament so far this fall. It follows an especially disappointing weekend at the NESCAC Qualifier at Bowdoin, in which the Jumbos finished sixth out of 10 teams, keeping them from advancing to the NESCAC Golf Championship tournament in the spring.
The RIC Invitational marked Zorniger’s strongest showing of the fall season. Shooting a 39 on the front nine holes and a 38 on the back nine for his 77, Zorniger tied for seventh individually, and was the only Jumbo with a score below 80.
“I think it was just mostly not panicking about not doing well in the previous few weeks and staying confident in my ability,” said Zorniger of his performance. “I’d had a good week of practice [leading up to Friday], and my stroke just came together.”
Finishing second for Tufts was junior Sebastian Vik, who shot an 81, with a 41 going out and a 40 coming in, good for a tie for 14th. David Carson placed third for Tufts and tied for 16th individually with a 39 and a 43 for a total of 82 in his first tournament playing for Tufts.
The Tufts team’s only two freshmen, Ben Ruskin and Adam Sneath, did not find as much success in Rhode Island on Friday. Ruskin scored for the team, with his 90 adding to the team total, while Sneath’s 97 did not factor into the team score.
“Even though I didn’t perform as well as I would have liked to, it was a great experience to play in my first college tournament and get a chance to test my game in that situation,” Ruskin said of his performance. “To get to learn what it takes to play in a college tournament will be valuable for me going forward.”
The team is now looking forward to rounding out their fall season with a strong finish. With the cancellation of this weekend’s Johnson and Wales Fall Tournament, the Jumbos’ next and final tournament of the fall will be the New England Championship in Brewster, Mass. on Oct. 27 and 28. There, Tufts will take on a field of opponents that includes several Div. I teams in one of the biggest tournaments of the season.
Zorniger explained that the competition will be a chance for the Jumbos to prove themselves against tough competition, hopefully allowing them to finish the fall on a high note and give them some momentum going into the spring.
Though this fall season has not been as successful for the team as it would have hoped, their prospects for the future look favorable. With a strong core of sophomores and juniors who have played in several tournaments this fall — including Wawer and Wong, both of whom were named to the All-NESCAC Second Team this week — the team is looking forward to the spring and next year.