Golf drives to 14th in second spring tournament

It may seem too soon, but Tufts’ golf team has already played in its penultimate event of the semester. The spring season is a short one for the team, consisting of just three tournaments during the month of April. The second tournament came this past weekend as the Jumbos competed at the Westport Hampton Inn Spring Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Allendale Country Club in North Dartmouth, Mass. where they placed 14th out of 18 teams.

The Jumbos sent five golfers to this weekend’s tournament, with the first round taking place on Friday. In that round, Tufts finished tied with Springfield College for 15th out of the 18 teams participating. The top scorer for the Jumbos in the first round was sophomore Aaron Corn, who shot 85, tied for 38th out of all players in the competition. Right behind Corn was senior co-captain Brendan Koh, who shot 86 on the day. The rest of the Jumbos finished with respectable scores as well. Senior co-captain Jay Wong shot 88 in the first round while first-year Justin Feldman and sophomore Mike Rogalski finished with scores of 90 and 99, respectively.

Justin Feldman, a first-year who joined the golf team for the spring season, noted that the first round was particularly difficult for the team due to the conditions of the course and the weather.

“The conditions were really tough,” Feldman said. “This was similar to the tournament last week. The first day, the winds were gusting at 25, 30 miles [per] hour. The course was soaked from the rain that we had this past Thursday. It was overall a tough experience, but it was also a learning experience.”

Saturday was more favorable to the Jumbos, as each golfer improved his score by at least two strokes. Brendan Koh led the way for his team in the second round, shooting 77, which was only five strokes over the course par of 72.

“The biggest thing for me on Friday was that my putting was a little bit shaky, and I wasn’t used to the greens,” Koh said. “I also didn’t hit as many greens on Friday as I would have liked to. So I put a lot of pressure on my short game and my putting, and that’s why I was able to improve by nine strokes.”

Koh’s teammates also all improved on their scores in the second round. Aaron Corn shot 81, four strokes under his first round total. The other three golfers, Jay Wong, Justin Feldman and Mike Rogalski, shot 85, 88 and 96 respectively.

The team will now look to the final tournament of the spring season, the Johnson and Wales Spring Invitational this Saturday and Sunday. The event will be the last in the collegiate careers of the team’s senior co-captains, Koh and Wong.

“I’m [going to] miss playing for the team, playing for Tufts,” Koh said. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity that Coach Pendergast and the school have given me to compete these past four years. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a captain for this team.”

According to Feldman, the seniors have served as motivation for the younger, more inexperienced golfers.

“While it’s hard for them to change any fundamentals with your swing, they’re definitely always there to help you,” Feldman said. “They’re there to give you support and help you manage the course better. They showed us how to bounce back from a difficult day because it was very difficult to stay mentally strong after such a grinding day like the first day of this past tournament. They really showed us how to bounce back; especially Brendan, he had a great day in round two.”

As the Jumbos head into their last tournament of the season, they look to break into the top half of the field of teams, something they haven’t done since October. Though the spring season mostly serves as a non-competitive training period to stay in form ahead of the fall, the team will still play to send off its seniors on a high note.