On Saturday and Sunday, Tufts golf competed at the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association (NEIGA) Championships held at the par-72 Captains Golf Course in Brewster, Mass. The Jumbos competed well and earned a seventh-place finish out of the 19 teams competing at the tournament to end their fall season.
On Saturday, which was held at the Port Course, sophomore Brandon Karr led the scoring for the Jumbos, shooting a 76 for four over par. He ended the day tied for 13th. Junior Justin Feldman finished the round one stroke behind with a 77 and tied for 20th. Behind Feldman was senior Nik Nugnes from West Barnstable, Mass., shooting a 79 to finish tied for 33rd. Finishing out the scores for the Jumbos were first-years Henry Hughes, who shot an 80 (T38) and Alex Honigford, who shot an 83 (T61). The Jumbos finished the first day of the tournament with a team-total score of 312, which secured the team a spot in ninth place. Husson University took the lead on the first day, outspacing Tufts by 14 strokes and second-place Rhode Island College by five with their team total of 298.
On Sunday, the tournament venue was switched, and the round was played at the Starboard Course to the detriment of some of the golfers. Karr vastly improved his game from the first round and shot a 71, one under par, to take his two-day total to 147, pulling ahead of the pack to finish fourth in the tournament. Hughes also improved upon his previous score and shot a 76, bringing his total score to 156 to tie for 30th. The NEIGA Championships were Hughes’ first competitive tournament for the Jumbos, and even though he finished second out of the five Tufts golfers in the tournament, he thought he could have done even better.
“[I wasn’t] satisfied with my first or second round performance,” Hughes said. “I had never seen either of the golf courses and didn’t play a practice round, so I had a hard time getting a feel for either course. Conditions were good. The golf courses were just very penalizing. We were thinking that if we played our best we could have won the event.”
Feldman did not improve on his previous score and shot an 81, dropping from tied for 20th to tied for 36th. Both Nugnes and Honigford finished tied for 54th with second round scores of 84 and 80, respectively.
Overall, the Jumbos performed better on the second day and posted a team total of 308 to bring their tournament score to 620. The Jumbos moved up the ranking ladder and ended the tournament in seventh place, just two points behind sixth-place Endicott College.
Coach George Pendergast was pleased with the result.
“With our two captains players Taylor Nordan and Aaron Corn unavailable this weekend, I thought we played very well,” Pendergast told the Daily in an email. “Finishing seventh out of 19 D-III schools is very strong.”
Husson University continued to dominate the tournament on the second day and had four out of its five golfers finish within the top ten. Husson junior Daulton Wickenden placed first in the tournament with his score of 142. Husson brought its tournament score to 586, blowing out the competition. They finished a whopping 11 points ahead of second-place Rhode Island College.
The NEIGA Championships mark the end of the fall season for the Jumbos. There will be no more competitive play, but the team thinks the nice weather will permit them to get a few more rounds in to keep their game up.
“The weather is good enough to continue playing for a couple more weeks,” Hughes said. “Team lifts will start, so we can get in good shape for the spring season. Our first time qualifying for NESCAC Championship means everybody is still really motivated to play their best.”
Looking back, the fall season was successful for Tufts. They posted great scores in tournaments like the Duke Nelson Invitational, where they finished fifth of 22 teams. They also qualified for the NESCAC championship for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 2007. The team placed third in the qualifier, only losing out to Trinity and Williams.
“We had a great season,” Pendergast said. “Qualifying for the NESCAC playoffs was a major accomplishment. Our other tournament results were excellent as well. … We were very consistent with a top-10 in every tournament we entered. We will take some time off after the long fall season, which started immediately after school started, right after Labor Day. We then will take our annual trip to Arizona in the middle of March to get ready for the spring.”