Tufts graduates two as youth paves way for future success

Sophomore Brandon Karr plays from a bunker during the NESCAC Qualifier at Indian Hill Golf Club in Newington, Conn. on Sept. 30, 2017. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily

The Tufts golf team finished 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 in April, where the Jumbos placed fourth of four participating teams.

Tufts’ fall season saw a mixture of successes and disappointments over the course of seven tournaments. The Jumbos improved in NESCAC competition, qualifying for the conference championship, which they failed to do by one spot the previous year. The team’s third-place finish at the NESCAC Qualifier marked the first time in program history that the team has qualified for the NESCAC Championship under the current qualification format, which was implemented in 2007. 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.

Rising junior Brandon Karr had an incredible fall season. Karr posted the team’s lowest score in four of his five tournaments and finished the fall season with three top-10 finishes, earning Second Team All-NESCAC honors. 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.

The team returned two of its captains from the 2016–17 season in graduating 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.

The team also received a standout performance from rising sophomore Alex Honigford in the fall. The Indianapolis, Ind. 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.

The spring season saw the team place around the middle of the pack in a handful of tournaments. The Jumbos finished seventh out of 18 teams at the Westport Hampton Inn Invitational and finished in sixth out of 19 in the Wildcat Spring Invitational. Karr took fifth place in the Westport Invitational, shooting a 7-over 151, and rising senior Justin Feldman tied for 14th in the Wildcat Invitational with a 15-over 157.

In their final meet of the season, the Jumbos placed fourth out of the four teams at the NESCAC Championships. Tufts finished with a total score of 638, well off of champion Trinity, which finished with 594 strokes. Feldman led the team, finishing 15th with a 14-over 158. Nordan, Corn and Karr finished one, two and three strokes behind Feldman, respectively. Corn was disappointed with the team’s result but was pleased with the team’s success to that point and is looking to the future.

Our performance at NESCACs was definitely disappointing, but one tournament should not define our season as a whole. I am proud of what this year’s team was able to accomplish,” said Corn. “Our goal coming into this year was to be one of the four teams to qualify for the NESCAC Championship — for the first time in school history, we were able to do that this year. Going forward, our sights are set on bringing home the ‘ship, and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it happens sooner rather than later.”

For Corn, Nordan and graduating senior Nik Nugnes, the 2017–18 season was their final one with the team. Corn cherished being an integral part of Tufts golf.

“I will be forever grateful for the memories and experiences that playing golf for Tufts has given me,” Corn said. “I have had the best teammates and coaches anyone could ask for, and I know they are going to do some really special things going forward.”