The 2016–2017 season was an overall success for the Jumbos. The team performed well on several different occasions and new players developed their skills to fill tournament positions.
The Jumbos played a bit inconsistently in the fall season, finishing well in tournaments like the Williams Fall Invitational, where they earned third place out of 18, but middle-of-the-pack in tournaments like the Duke Nelson Invitational, where they finished 13th out of 22 teams. Tufts unfortunately missed out on the NESCAC Championship by just one spot and finished fifth at the NESCAC qualifiers, as the Jumbos were beaten out of the tournament by Middlebury.
Associate head coach Brian Golden explained that not qualifying for the NESCAC Championship came as a disappointment for the team, as this is a major goal for them every fall. However, players continued to post lower scores throughout the season.
“I see this team qualifying for the NESCAC Championship this fall and contending to close out the season with a win at the New England Intercollegiate Championship,” Golden said.
Despite being knocked out of the NESCAC tournament, graduating senior tri-captain Owen Elliott was nominated to the NESCAC all-conference second team, the third consecutive NESCAC honor of his career. The Jumbos then went on to tie for fourth at the New England Championship to finish out the fall season.
Tufts hit the ground running in the spring, finishing first out of 17 teams at the Hampton Inn Invitational. To round out the 2016–2017 season, the team finished fourth out of six teams at the Bentley Newport Classic and third of 17 at the Wildcat Spring Invitational.
The spring season was also when the younger players on the roster started to develop as players. For example, rising sophomore Ethan Sorkin finished 26th individually at the Hampton Inn Invite. Classmate Sanjay Mukhurjee, in just his second tournament for the Jumbos, led the team for strokes and carded a 76 at the Bentley Newport Classic.
In all, Golden was happy with the team’s performance this season.
“Of the two-day tournaments, the team finished in the top five, six out of seven times, improving their finishes this spring with a team victory and a third-place finish,” Golden said. “Coach Pendergast and I have been impressed with the multiple freshmen who, when given the playing opportunity, have stepped up and contributed to the team’s success.”
The team is losing just one graduating senior: Elliott. A core member of the team throughout the fall and spring seasons, Elliott was one of the team’s most consistent players. He has shot within the 70s in every tournament dating back to the Williams Fall Invitational on Sept. 24-25.
Elliott said that he is sad to be leaving the team, but the feeling has not yet fully sunk in.
“I think the saddest part for me is that my days as a teammate are over,” he said. “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.”
Golden acknowledged Elliott’s contributions to the team, while adding that the team is preparing to fill his shoes.
“I am confident that the team will continue to contend this fall season, knowing that the current players are already planning on practice plans and tournament participation this summer, and knowing that the incoming freshman golfers may make this fall’s team the deepest team we have had in a very long time,” he said. “Coach Pendergast and I are very excited to see what this fall season may bring and how far this team can go.”