Golf team prepares for promising spring season

Senior co-captain Taylor Nordan putts in the NESCAC Qualifier at Indian Hill Golf Club in Newington, Conn. on Sept. 30, 2017. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily

After a middling finish to its fall season, the Tufts golf team will look to improve in its upcoming spring campaign. The Jumbos, who are led by coach George Pendergastfinished third at the NESCAC Qualifier and seventh at the New England Championships in October. The former result earned the team a spot in the NESCAC Championship later this month.

Tufts’ fall season saw a mixture of successes and disappointments while competing in half a dozen tournaments. The Jumbos improved in NESCAC competition, qualifying for the conference championship, which they failed to make by one spot the previous year. The team’s third-place finish at the NESCAC Qualifier, held at Indian Hills Country Club in Newington, Conn., marked the first time in program history that it has qualified for the NESCAC Championship under the current qualification format, which was implemented in 2007. On the other hand, the Jumbos failed to match their fourth-place finish at the 2016 New England Championships, instead finishing seventh at Captain’s Course in Brewster, Mass.

Sophomore Brandon Karr is coming off of a tremendous fall season and looks to replicate his success in the spring. Karr posted the team’s lowest score in four of the five tournaments that he participated in and finished the fall season with three top-10 finishes. The West Bloomfield, Mich. native tied for 10th in the Detrick Invitational shooting 9-over par. A week later, Karr finished in a tie for third at the Duke Nelson Invitational, shooting 1-over at the two-day event. He closed the fall campaign by finishing fourth at the New England Championships with a final score of 3-over. Karr is excited to get the spring season underway, noting his hopes for both personal and team success.

“As a team, our goal this year has been make it to, and win, a NESCAC Championship then go to Nationals. I believe the intensity of our offseason has put us in an amazing position to accomplish this,” Karr said. “Everyone has been focused and committed like never before, and I have never had more confidence in this team. Personally, I expect to go out there and give myself a chance to win every week. I’ve always been putting in work toward getting better, but now I need to perform for myself and for this team.”

If past results mean anything, the Jumbos are poised for success this spring, as Karr is not the only golfer to have had a strong fall season. The team returns two of its captains from the 2016–17 season in seniors Aaron Corn and Taylor Nordan. Both had impressive performances in the fall, playing for the Jumbos in the majority of their tournaments. The two seniors played large roles in Tufts’ historic performance at the NESCAC Qualifier. Corn (9-over) finished 12th at the tournament, while Nordan (12-over) finished tied for 14th. Both golfers consistently finished among the top three in the Jumbos’ lineup during the fall season. Heading into the final chapter of his collegiate career, Corn hopes that the team performs well at the NESCAC Championship and is doing his part to put the team in the best possible position to do so.

“I think I speak for the entire team when I say my hopes and expectations for this spring are to bring home a NESCAC championship for Tufts. As a team, I feel we are better prepared to do this than ever — we are coming off our most successful fall campaign in recent history, and we have all put in a lot of hard work this offseason to improve our games,” Corn said. “As cliché as it sounds, this is my final season as a collegiate golfer, I want to feel like I’ve left it all out on the course. I am choosing to focus more on doing the little things every day to make sure I put myself in the best position possible to be successful at the NESCAC Championship.”

The team also received a standout performance from first-year Alex Honigford in the fall. The Indianapolis native put on an impressive display at the Blazers Fall Invite, finishing in a tie for first with a two-day score of 3-over par. Honigford shot a 1-over 73 on Saturday at Hickory Ridge Golf Club and followed it up with a 1-over 72 at the Orchards Golf Club the following day.

Tufts’ spring season will kick off on Friday, when it travels to Allendale Country Club in North Dartmouth, Mass. for the Westport Hampton Inn Invitational. The Jumbos’ ultimate test will come in their final tournament of the season, the NESCAC Championship, from April 28–29.