Tufts finishes regular season in at Wildcat Invitational

Owen Elliott makes the final putt of his career to take first in the match on April 23. Courtesy Brian Golden

On Saturday and Sunday, the men’s golf team competed in their last tournament of the spring season in the Wildcat Spring Invitational at Cranston Country Club in Cranston, R.I. The team played well over the course of the two days, and it was a proper send-off for senior tri-captain, Owen Elliott.

On Saturday, the Jumbos had a good performance in the first round of the tournament. Elliott shot Tufts’s best round for the first day with a 76, finishing the day tied for third place. Junior tri-captain Taylor Nordan was only two strokes behind with a score of 78, tied for 12th heading into the second round. First-year Brandon Karr carded an 80 to finish tied for 23rd. Sophomore Justin Feldman’s 81 (tied for 29th) and junior tri-captain Aaron Corn’s 87 (tied for 62nd) rounded out the scoring for the Jumbos. Over the course of the first round, the team accumulated 315 total team points, the fourth lowest score out of the 17 competing teams. There was just a six-stroke gap between fourth place Tufts and first place Western New England University heading into final-round action.

On Sunday, the team saw a big improvement in the second round, with each of the five Jumbos scoring within the 70s. Elliott led the team once again, shooting a team-low of 74, but it was a bittersweet moment; this was Elliott’s final tournament as a Jumbo. However, he ended his career in a great way. He finished with the lowest individual combined score (150) out of the 85 golfers competing at the tournament to take individual medalist honors. The three-time All-NESCAC Conference Second Team veteran sealed out his time as a Tufts golfer by draining a five-foot putt on the 18th hole. Elliott also continued his streak of shooting consistently within the 70s, a streak he started in the fall and has continued for 11 rounds.

“It’s definitely sad, but it hasn’t hit yet … it was definitely one of those moments that you know will be meaningful when you look back, so I tried my best to take it all in and really enjoy the round,” Elliot said. “I think the saddest part for me is that my days as a teammate are over. I am going to play competitive golf after school, but that is an individual endeavor. There is something special about being on a team, committing to each other and pursuing a collective goal, that I am sincerely going to miss.”

Corn stepped up his game in the second round and shot a 77, a 10-stroke improvement from his first-round score of 87. Feldman and Karr each shot a 78, and Nordan shot a 79. The team posted a score of 307 on the day and earned a combined score of 622. The Jumbos took third place at the tournament and overtook Rhode Island College, which was in third going into the second round. Tufts only lost to Babson College’s score of 619 and Western New England’s 612.

Coach Brian Golden lauded the Jumbos’ efforts at the tournament.

“Once again, the playing conditions for the first round were miserable, similar to both rounds of the Hampton Inn Invitational,” Golden told the Daily in an email. “The team handled the elements and course well to place themselves in striking distance of a very solid Western New England team. One thing I kept reminding the guys of was to stay patient, as, like every two day event, it is a 36-hole marathon. The guys did just that.”

Overall, it was a successful spring season for Tufts golf. The team placed high in all their tournaments, taking first place at two of them and never falling below fourth place in any tournament.

“The team played great [this season],” Elliott said. “We have had so little practice time this spring that our results are close to a miracle. We have posted great team scores in every round this spring and I think it’s a testament to our improvement as a ball club. We have a lot of good golfers on the team right now.”