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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Jumbos struggle at Duke Nelson Invitational

The Tufts golf team competed in the 31st annual Duke Nelson Tournament over the weekend at Middlebury College. The tournament took place on the the par-71 Ralph Myhre Golf Course. The Jumbos shot a 338 on Saturday and a 334 on Sunday for a total score of 672, which placed them 23rd out of the 25 teams competing. Tufts finished above only two teams: Springfield College, which shot a 689 for the weekend, and Wesleyan University, which shot a 723. The NESCAC was still, however, represented in the top of the standings, with Trinity College finishing in second place with a two-day score of 608 and Middlebury finishing in fourth place with a two-day score of 621.

Leading the way for Tufts was sophomore Owen Elliot, who shot an 82 on Saturday followed by an 84 on Sunday for a total score of 166. The second lowest score for the Jumbos came from freshman Glenn Van Winkle, who shot an 85 on both days for a total of 170. Senior captain Alex Zorniger shot the best individual round for the Jumbos with a score of 80 on Sunday.

Facing stiff competition, Tufts was looking at an uphill battle, which was later compounded by bad weather.

“It turned out to be like 50 [degrees] with rain all day,” Zorniger said. “It was a lot colder than we expected.”

Elliot echoed that sentiment, adding that the tough conditions adversely affected the quality of play.

“On Saturday it was about 55 [degrees] and raining,” he said. "And then on Sunday it was cold, so the weather definitely played a factor in the tournament.”

Despite the final results, the team did show some promising moments, and players made strides individually. The team brought three freshmen to the tournament: Van Winkle, Aaron Corn and Michael Lefkowitz. Corn earned the third-lowest score for the Jumbos, scoring an 86 on Saturday and an 85 on Sunday for a total score of 171. Lefkowitz shot the highest score for Tufts, posting an 85 on Saturday and a 92 on Sunday for a two-day total of 177.

“We took three freshmen this weekend, and it’s good for them to get some experience,” Elliot said. “Even though we didn’t score very well ... it should pay off in the future.”

The next step for the team is putting together full rounds. Although players were able to make several tough shots, it was an inability to consistently string together series of strong holes that landed the Jumbos near the bottom of the standings. Part of the necessary improvement will simply come with time, as seven of the 10 players on the roster are underclassmen. While the younger players on the team have shown their skills in practice, this success has yet to translate to their performance during competitive play.

“In practice we are shooting in the mid-70’s and in tournaments we are shooting in the low-80’s,” Elliot said. “So there’s some discrepancy there that ... would be nice to fix.”

But Tufts will have plenty of opportunities to prove itself in the coming weeks. Next weekend, Tufts will play at Williams in the Williams Invitational, and the following weekend they will play at Hamilton in the NESCAC Qualifiers.

“Next week’s a great golf course at Williams -- there’s going to be a lot of good competition,” Zorniger said. “And then the week after that is [the] NESCAC [Qualifier], which is really the big tournament for us … two good weeks of practice and I think this team can still do what we set out to do, which is qualify for the final round of NESCAC Championships.”