This past Monday, the Swarthmore men’s golf team participated in the Immaculata Invitational, completing the course with a fifth-place performance out of a total of 12 teams. The Immaculata Invitational marks the team’s fifth, final and best fall season performance this semester.
“I think the tournament went well,” Drew Langan ’17 said as he commented on his team’s performance at its final fall season invitational. Langan shot an 81 on the par-71 course this week and finished third on Swarthmore’s four-man team. Compared to their results from last week at the Franklin & Marshall Invitational, both Langan and the rest of his team improved their performances significantly.
“Last week was a very below-average performance for us,” Langan explained. After finishing in 17th place out of 19 competing schools at the F&M tournament last Monday, their performance in the Immaculata Invitational was well received. “We bounced back nicely from that down tournament this week,” Langan concluded.
Individual scores amongst the Swarthmore athletes continued to improve throughout this fall season as well. Yousaf Razvi ’18, who carded a 79 at the Immaculata conference, commented on his progress from last week’s performance and said, “As an individual, I had certain goals for myself and I improved off my last tournament’s performance. My score was better and if certain parts of my game continue to improve every step of the way, I’m satisfied.”
However, one problem that the team has continued to encounter this fall is their lack of consistency in tournament participation. Schools usually compete with five-man teams or even two five-man teams if they have enough bodies. However, the Garnet has often struggled to meet five this fall and often participate with four volunteers.
“We’re improving,” Michael Chen ’17 commented, who led the Garnet on Monday with a score of 78, “but we had to four-man it again-which is a little disappointing, but it happens,” Michael Chen ’17 commented.
Most of this lack of participation stems from the loss of three graduated starting seniors as well as one current senior, current team captain Andrew Park ’15 who took this fall semester off from the team due to an overload of classes.
“Last year was a good year because we had a lot of seniors committed to the program. Although our team is not as well-rounded as it was last year, we’ll get our number one [Park] back in the spring,” Chen said.
The team believes that their performance will continue to improve in the spring as they note Park’s return as well as the greater sense of dedication that often comes with the spring season. “We’re really hopeful about our prospects for the spring,” junior team captain Andrew Pak ’16 explained. “We should be a lot stronger than then now. We also tend to get a lot more serious and organized in the spring, which should definitely help our performance.”
The men also stressed the importance of the spring semester when conference championships are held, as opposed to the fall semester, which is meant to warm them up for the spring and give them a sneak peek at future conference foes. “The fall tournaments are a good way to keep up with our competition,” Chen said. “We are all definitely individually improving from last year.”
However, the team has suffered a minor setback after losing their original course, Rolling Green Golf Course, due to problems with the administration. After practicing on different courses for the first few weeks of the fall season, the team’s new practicing ground, Spring Haven, marks a definitive change in how the team will practice and compete in the spring.
“Spring Haven’s a great course, it’s just that Rolling Green was above and beyond the best course in the area, hands down. Plus we were playing there for free,” Chen commented. “They let us host Monday tournaments, but because of our change in courses, we won’t have those this year as much.”
The Monday tournaments were crucial to the team’s ability to play competitively as opposed to just going to regular team practices every week. Last year, the Garnet hosted three tournaments where other teams would come and compete in a day-long, out-of-conference tournament.
“We’re more restricted when it comes to Spring Haven,” Chen continued. “We’ll have less time to play competitively in the spring.”
However, the team is still hopeful that despite their loss of Rolling Green, they can still succeed in performing even better in conference play during the spring. Last year, the team placed third out of seven schools in conference, falling behind Franklin & Marshall as well as McDaniel.
“We didn’t beat McDaniel, which was a little disappointing to us,” Chen said as he reflected the sentiments of the rest of the team. This year, the team hopes to change that. “We’re seen as the nerds of the conference, so losing to us kind of upsets them.”
Nerds or not, the golf team’s prospects for the spring seem strong as they look forward to conference play in the spring.