After their previous weekend tournament was shortened by rain, the golf team made it back to the course this past weekend, battling both their opponents and the weather. Over the course of Friday to Monday, the team participated in both the Rutgers-Camden Scarlet Raptors Spring Golf Invitational and the Hershey Cup.
The Invitational, hosted at Pennsauken Country Club, was held on April 4th and fielded a total of 15 teams. The Swarthmore men’s golf team shot a combined 329 to place fourth. Jeff Wall ’14 led the team with a total of 79 and finished in a tie for eighth. Additional team scores consisted of an 81, 82, 87, and 90 on the par 70 course.
While this performance was solid, the team is optimistic they can improve. As Kyle Knapp ’14 said, “The weather has affected us pretty heavily. Even after we got back from spring break, we were not able to practice for a week because there was still snow on the ground. Due to the cold winter, many of the courses we have played are not in very good shape. Since most of our rounds and practices have been played in this inclement weather, most of us have become a lot more comfortable playing in these conditions. When the weather is this poor, it is essential that you do not get flustered by the conditions.”
Not only has the weather affected the conditions of the course, but it has actually reduced the number of matches the team has been able to play. Out of the seven scheduled matches for the team, two have been cancelled and one postponed. Three of the remaining rounds have been played in cold, rainy weather.
The team also participated in the Hershey Cup, spanning April 6th and 7th. Out of 15 teams in the Cup, Swarthmore finished ninth. The first day the team shot a 314 and posted a 326 on the second day. A combined team score of 640 put the team at +72 for the weekend.
Price Ferchill ’14 led the team in scoring on the first day, posting a 76, while Andrew Park ’15 and Michael Chen ’17 posted a 78 and 79 respectively. On day two Chen and Wall scored 80’s to set the pace for the rest of their team.
Commenting on the weekend’s performance, Ferchill said, “This weekend was a tough test of golf. The golf course had very fast and undulating greens and was an overall difficult layout. Also, the weather was really poor on the second day. The team’s performance as a whole stood out to me: we did a good job of maintaining positive attitudes under difficult conditions.”
Even in the tough conditions, the golf team was able to pull together a performance consistent with their season’s play. The team has done well in each tournament they have played in, even winning one at the end of last month. Consistency of play in this weather could lead to improvements in performance as the weather improves.
Ferchill, on the season outlook, said, “Unfortunately, we just haven’t really caught a hot streak yet. I think that everyone on the team is doing a good job of staying patient, and recognizing that if we continue to play steady, consistent golf, things will click eventually. We’re hosting the conference championship this year at a course that I think really suits our team’s strengths. If we can continue to limit our mistakes, I think we’ll have a very good opportunity to challenge for the conference title and a bid to the national championship.”
While this season has certainly been a test for the team, it seems that all members have responded well. Each player is making a positive contribution to the team and most people have found their swings after the long winter break.
Battling through the elements has also sharpened the team’s mental focus and puts them in a good spot to compete for the conference championship. According to Knapp, the team’s biggest challengers are most likely going to be McDaniel and F&M.
The team will play matches this Sunday and Monday. They will be among the teams’ final matches as they prepare to compete in the conference tournament at the end of the month.