Jumbos finish fourth at New Englands, Elliot receives individual honors

Senior tri-captain Owen Elliot, center, poses for a picture with his teammates after winning Div. III All-New England honors at the 82nd Annual New England Intercollegiate Golf Association Championships in Brewster, Mass. on the weekend of Oct. 22. (Courtesy George Pendergast)

Men’s golf placed fourth in its final tournament of the fall season, the 82nd Annual New England Intercollegiate Golf Association (NEIGA) Championships this past weekend. Senior tri-captain Owen Elliot paced the Jumbos for a third consecutive week, finishing tied for third overall. Elliot’s two-round score of 149 left him one shot shy of the leaders and a potential playoff, but he still walked away with Div. III All-New England honors. Despite having to play in 20 mph wind, Elliot improved on his Sunday score of 76 to post a 73 on Monday.

“It was an up and down round,” Elliot told the Daily in an email. “I thought I would need a -2 round of 70 to win so I definitely had a number in my head going out there. I started great, going -2 [through] six with kick in birdies in [holes] 4 and 6. Then a stretch of bad drives got me into trouble and I dropped three shots on the next [four] holes. Bringing [it] back in I got myself back into contention with birdies on [holes] 12 and 15.”

Elliot wasn’t the only Jumbo to improve his score across the two days. With an eight shot improvement from round one, sophomore Justin Feldman shot a 75 — three strokes over par — in the final round, finishing the tournament at 14-over. His 158 score tied for 17th place. First-year Ethan Sorkin followed suit, improving by seven strokes and shooting a 77 in the final round. His combined score of 161 ranked 27th overall.

Tufts’ second day improvements boosted the team from ninth place to fourth, the fourth time in five events that the Jumbos improved on their day one position.

“A lot of times, young golfers kind of lose it in the first four, five holes but not the guys this year,” coach George Pendergast said. “A few times they’d have a bad front side and they really rallied on the backside, and it’s been the same across the two days. The first day, maybe they were a little less focused, and then the second day, they would post a better score.”

A one-hole playoff was necessary to decide the winner of the championship. First-year Chris Bornhorst of Babson College and senior Zachary Temple of Castleton University both finished with a four-over-par combined score of 148, but it was Bornhorst who posted the better score on the playoff hole, earning the Babson player individual honors.

Led by Bornhorst’s first-place performance, Babson College took home the team championship, winning by seven strokes and posting a two day score of 617. Husson University finished second with a total of 624. Nichols College placed third with a score of 633, while Tufts and Western New England both finished with 635 points to tie for fourth.

Tufts golf is on hiatus for the winter until its season resumes in the spring, but Elliott said that he and his team have no plans to take a break between seasons. Tufts’ string of impressive performances over the past few weeks has produced one of the team’s best fall seasons in recent history. According to Elliot, it will not be a surprise if the Jumbos come out even stronger this spring.

“We’re going big,” Elliot said. “Lifts start next week. It’s a great opportunity for team bonding, and hopefully it will help us play better in the spring.”