Jumbos show strong season finish at NEIGA Championships

The men’s golf team finished up the fall season with a solid performance at the New England Collegiate Golf Association Championships in Brewster, Mass. on Sunday and Monday.

Five golfers competed on The Captains Course, posting a cumulative team score of 649 over the two days. The Jumbos finished the first day of the championships in 15th place out of the 22 Div. III teams with a score of 329 and followed that up with an improved 320 on day two. Tufts tied for ninth place with Salem State College. It also tied for 21st out of all the colleges from every division, which was an improvement over last season’s 26th place finish. Rhode Island College came in first place out of Div. III teams with a cumulative team score of 615. The team from Div. I school Fairfield University won the tournament overall with a 601 team score.

The standout golfers of the weekend for Tufts were freshman Taylor Nordan and sophomore Owen Elliott. They each shot an 81 on the first day, which tied them for 29th place individually. Each golfer then stepped up his game on day two, shooting 77s and moving up to a tie for 20th place to finish the tournament, each with a cumulative score of 158. The key for both Nordan and Elliott was being able to play well and shoot low scores despite adverse conditions.

“In windy conditions it’s important to hit the ball square because miss-hit shots become even worse in the wind,” Elliott said. “Taylor and I were able to keep the ball in play for the most part.”

Also competing for the Jumbos were senior captain Alex Zorniger, freshman Glenn VanWinkle and sophomore Ben Ruskin. Zorniger finished the tournament tied for 45th place individually with a cumulative score of 164, while Van Winkle finished tied for 61st with a cumulative score of 169. Finally, Ruskin finished tied for 81st with a cumulative score of 175. 

“I think our play was a little disappointing at NEIGA considering how well we played in our last two tournaments,” Elliott said. “The high winds definitely inflated the scores but I also think we didn’t play our best.”

The Jumbos’ previous tournament was the NESCAC Qualifiers, in which the Jumbos finished in fifth place and just missed being one of the top four teams to compete for the 2015 conference championship. Despite shooting the third best team score on the second day of NESCACs, Tufts failed to qualify by a mere 12 strokes. The NESCAC Qualifier was still one of the highlights of the Jumbos’ fall season because it instilled confidence that they can compete with the best in the league.

“My favorite part of the fall was when we shot 300 in the second round of NESCACs and were waiting for the top four teams to finish,” Elliott said. “Even though it ended up that we didn’t pass any of the top four teams, knowing that we played well and we had a chance if they didn’t play well that second day led to a very exciting hour as the last 5 groups finished their round.”

Tufts will learn from this fall season and use the experience it has gained to improve over the winter. The Jumbos got a lot of experience playing in adverse conditions this fall, which will allow them to play at a high level when the conditions are less strenuous this spring.

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