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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Golf opens spring season with a 12th finish in rain-shortened tournament

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Michael Lefkowitz (LA'18) drives from the seventh tee at the Newbury Invitational on Wednesday, Sep. 23, 2015.

With their first event since October, the Jumbos kicked off their spring season by finishing 12th out of 16 teams at Friday’s Rhode Island College Invitational. The event was cut in half due to rain on Saturday, but Tufts’ four best scorers totaled a 337, which tied the team with Roger Williams.

Tufts sophomore Aaron Corn led with a 79, seven-over par. Senior captain Brendan Koh finished close behind with an 80, while putting up a 37 across the back nine holes. Sophomore Michael Lefkowitz and first-year Justin Feldman rounded out the top four with 89’s apiece.

“It was just great getting back out there,” Koh said. “Granted the conditions weren’t exactly great golfing conditions, the wind and all made it really tough, but this is New England golf and that’s what we have to deal with.”

The spring season, lasting just a few weeks in April and being significantly shorter than the fall season, is a short opportunity for the golf team to regain its form after winter and prepare for the upcoming fall.

“We’re just trying to use this spring, every single tournament and every single practice to get better,” Corn said. “It’s a process. It shows that we have a lot of potential but also that we have a long way to go.”

Expectations are mixed for the Jumbos going into the season. The team finished consistently in the middle of the pack during their fall campaign, winning one tournament at Newbury College’s Nighthawk Invitational in late September. While the fall season was nothing to be ashamed of, the short spring season doesn’t provide a great opportunity to prove more.

“Being only three matches, [the spring season is] very good for a lot of the younger guys to get out there and compete,” Koh said. “They get to feel what it’s like to compete in a Div. III tournament. It gives us a chance to groom the future of the team.”

With two newcomers, first-years Feldman and Mike Rogalski, showing promise and with almost the entire squad except for senior co-captains Koh and Jay Wong returning in the fall, this April will be a good opportunity for the team to measure its growth and shape up into next year's team.

“For our two new guys [Rogalski and Feldman], this was a good experience for the both of them,” Koh said. “They’re just new to the team, and it was good competitive experience with the team.”

The newcomers will use the spring season to get integrated into the rhythm of the team and get some collegiate experience under their belts before competing in the more intense fall competitions.

“We’re trying to get some of the younger guys some tournament experience,” Corn said. “We want to be sure that every single person on the team is taking the steps to get better every day so that next fall we’re ready to compete."

For seniors like Koh, this season is also about cementing their legacy and leaving a mark on the program.

“It’s a little bit nostalgic,” Koh said. “What I’m most concerned about is how I leave the golf team, what I’ve left behind for the team. I just hope the team continues playing well, even after [our class] graduates."

While this season will be the last for Koh and Wong, the team felt their lasting impact.

“We wanted to win them a NESCAC Championship [in the fall 2015 season],” Corn said. “Brendan and Jay have really been the heart of Tufts Golf for the four years that they’ve both been here, and I think they’re leaving the program in a better place than when they first got here.”

Although the weather kept the Jumbos from showing off what they could accomplish on day two of the Invitational, they will be back in action on Friday at the Westport Hampton Inn Spring Invitational hosted by UMass-Dartmouth this Saturday and Sunday, as they continue to shake off the winter rust.