Golf Takes Its First Swings in Fall Tournaments

Golf may be a spring sport above all, but competition takes place year-round. The Swarthmore golf team started off its 2012-13 campaign last weekend with the Penn State Harrisburg Fall Classic, and then hosted the Swarthmore Fall Invitational on Monday.

During the weekend tournament in Harrisburg, the Garnet placed 14th overall with a team score of 649. Kyle Krainock ’13 led the team with a two-day score of 158, while Price Ferchill ’14 had the lowest overall Swarthmore score with a 75 on the first day.

Although the team may not have had the best tournament, the players saw hopeful signs. Krainock pointed out that “our team had a pretty solid first day of the tournament, but we faded a bit on the second day.”  He added that the first tournament of the year is always hard. “It takes some time to get back in the swing of tournament play,” he said. Overall, he felt that the team showed promise and that the team was capable of performing at a high level later this year.

Ferchill agreed, adding, “The team’s play this weekend was up and down … Everyone had either one good round or a stretch of good holes, but we couldn’t seem to keep any momentum going for the entire 36 hole tournament.” At the same time, he said, “I think that this weekend could serve us well in the long run. It might have been the wake-up call that we needed to fuel the rest of our fall season.”

While the men were in Harrisburg, Amanda Beebe ’15, the sole female member of the golf team, was competing at McDaniel College in their Women’s Fall Invitational. Her score of 85 was strong enough for a sixth place finish, and fourth among competitors from the Centennial Conference.

The Garnet returned home for the one-day Swarthmore Fall Invitational, hosted at the nearby Rock Manor Country Club. Swarthmore tied for sixth overall in a tightly packed field. The team score of 333 was just four strokes out of second place. Andrew Park ’14 had the top score, tying for third overall individually with a 75. On the women’s side, Beebe again had a stellar outing, taking second place in the individual competition with a score of 84.

With the Centennial Conference and NCAA Championship tournaments in the spring, one might wonder why there are tournaments in the fall. The answer is that every bit of experience helps. Ferchill said, “Golf really is a year-round sport. The fall season is used mainly as a time to get to know new members of the team, reacclimate to NCAA competition, and to prepare for the spring season.”

Krainock added, “I see the fall season as being a way for the team to get back into tournament mode. For the freshmen, the fall season is important because it allows them to get used to golf at the college level.  Three of our juniors [Jeff Wall ’14, Kyle Knapp ’14, and Sam White ’14] are abroad this semester, so this fall season is especially unique for our team. When they come back in the spring our team will be even more competitive.”

The different emphasis in the fall does not change the team’s focus, though. As Ferchill pointed out, “Our primary goal is always the same, regardless of the time of year: to win golf tournaments.” Krainock agrees, saying, “As with every tournament we play, our goal as a team is to win.  In our fall events, it is very common to be playing against other teams from the Centennial Conference, so we are able to gauge our abilities against them, see how we need to improve, and what we’ll be up against come the conference championship in the spring.”

At the same time, there are other goals as well. Ferchill added that during the fall season, the team tries to let freshmen and newcomers start in tournaments. This way, they can get experience and adjust to collegiate competition in a less stressful situation.

Ferchill and Krainock both believe the freshmen will adjust quickly. Krainock said one in particular, Jason Jolliffe ’16, could be tremendous. “I am excited to have him on the team because he is a great kid and absolutely crushes the golf ball.” He added, “The three other freshmen (Jeremy Chang ’16, Thomas Kim ’16, and Andrew Pak ’16) are solid too, so they should contribute positively this year.”

Ferchill was impressed with the freshmen’s resumes, pointing out that each of the new freshman have a background in golf, and tournament experience prior to coming to Swarthmore. He thinks they are able to be starters by the end of the year.

Swarthmore has two tournaments remaining on the fall schedule before going into hibernation until spring.  October 6th-7th the Garnet will compete at McDaniel’s Mason Dixon Classic, and then close out the fall on October 9th at the Philadelphia University Golf Classic.

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