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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, May 25, 2024

Golf | Golf finishes in middle of pack again at Middlebury

Tufts placed 14th out of 22 teams at the 30th Duke Nelson Invitational golf tournament hosted by Middlebury College on Saturday and Sunday.

Tufts brought five athletes to the tournament — juniors John Wawer and Alex Zorniger, and sophomores Jay Wong, Matt Lesnik and Brendan Koh. The scores of the top four on the team over two days were added together to create the team’s final score of 631.

Wawer had the best round for the team on day one, shooting a five-over-par 75, which put him seven shots behind leader Rob Donahoe of host Middlebury College. Donahoe’s two-under 68 that day was the best round played all weekend.

Wawer led the Jumbos again on day two shooting a 76, good for a 151 weekend score. His team-leading score was good enough to tie for 21st in the entire field. Wong was close behind, scoring a 153, which put him at a tie for 28th overall.

“As a golfer, you always see the negatives in your rounds, thinking of missed opportunities,” Wawer said. “In that sense, you’re never completely pleased. But with some very respectable rounds, I was pleased with both my and the team’s performance. Even those who didn’t score especially low had some tremendous nine-hole stretches.”

Zorniger shot a 160, placing 65th overall, and Lesnik and Koh both shot 167, tying for 85th overall. Interestingly, Lesnik and Koh both shot 81 in the first round and 86 in the second round. Both players will look to push each other in the future for the fourth scoring position on the team.

“I thought the team took a positive step this weekend,” Zorniger said. “We had some kids that played well and put up some decent numbers. We didn’t get the full team effort that we hoped for, but we were very competitive.”

According to Zorniger, consistency is the key to the team’s future success.

“Of the kids that didn’t play as well, it’s still an inconsistency that we need to work on,” Zorniger said. “We had some kids, including me, put up some of the best and the worst golf in their careers in the same round. Continuing with a constant practice regimen will work that out.”

In fact, the Jumbos were able to put together a more impressive performance this past weekend than the scoreboard showed.

“If you look at the scores, we were only a couple of strokes away from the top 10, which would’ve been a good result in a tournament with the depth and size of the Middlebury field,” Zorniger said. “We know we can play better, but it was a much better effort than last week,” he said.

Instead, the weekend was less an example of poor performance, and more of squandered opportunity for a young Tufts team.

“As for the course, it was there for the taking,” Zorniger said. “Very fair and the scores showed that. Our result this year would have been quite a few spots higher in last year’s field.”

Four of the five Tufts players, besides Wong, shot better rounds on Saturday than they did on Sunday. Seven of the 22 teams scored better as a whole in the second round than in the first, while Tufts was one of the many teams that went the other way, shooting nine shots worse on Sunday.

The Jumbos’ next test will come this weekend at the Williams Invitational.