Tufts returns this fall coming off a strong 2017–18 campaign marked by consistent results. Though the team did perform well, it did not manage to place first in any of its major tournaments, and it will be looking to do just that this season.
“The team is looking as solid as ever this year,” senior co-captain Justin Feldman said. “Our returners are looking strong and eager to get back out on the course. Year after year, our incoming [first-year] class continues to bring more and more talent to the table. This is truly the first year in my four years that we are starting the season knowing that we are competitive for the top spot in the NESCAC. Objectively, the ultimate goal is to finish in the top four at the NESCAC Championship qualifier to give ourselves a chance to make it to the NCAA [tournament], but generally, the team plans to make impactful appearances with strong results in every tournament this fall.”
There are also many new additions coming to the team that hopefully will help supplement Tufts’ efforts this year, according to coach George Pendergast.
“We have very high expectations,” Pendergast said. “We have excellent depth with at least 15 players trying out for the team this week, and all the team members have great ability. There are five or six [first-years] who have an opportunity to contribute.”
However, Pendergast noted that the team will not have a finalized roster until the tryout phase is concluded in two weeks.
Feldman and fellow senior Brian Creonte are the newly appointed captains of the team this year and bring with them years of college golf experience. As a sophomore, Feldman finished 33rd overall at the NESCAC Qualifier and 17th overall at the New England Championship. As a junior, Feldman improved on his finish at the NESCAC Qualifier, finishing tied for 14th with a 12-over-par 156 over the course of two days. While Creonte has not played in either the NESCAC Qualifiers or the New England Championships, he has performed well in regular season tournaments and brings a lot of knowledge to the team as a senior.
“Brian and I understand that golf, overall, is an individual sport,” Feldman said. “However, we both bring some very strong team sport backgrounds to the table and plan on bringing that mentality to the team. By encouraging a tight-knit, well-structured unit of players, everyone will enjoy the season more and the results should hopefully follow suit.”
The team has graduated a good number of seniors from last season. Aaron Corn (LA ’18) and Taylor Nordan (LA ’18) were the captains last year, and their loss presents a serious blow to the team. Along with the two captains, veteran Nik Nugnes (LA ’18) also graduated last year.
However, the team is likely to feature many strong returning players, such as junior Brandon Karr and sophomore Alex Honigford. Last season, Karr was largely a mainstay for the Jumbos with a litany of impressive performances, oftentimes leading the Jumbos in points. Likewise, Honigford also put in a number of great performances and secured several tournament appearances.
Tufts looks to compete in this weekend’s Dietrick Invitational, hosted by fellow NESCAC member Trinity at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington, Conn. With the tournament featuring conference rivals Amherst and Wesleyan, Tufts’ performance at the tournament will be a good indicator of the team’s potential for success in the conference. Last year, the Jumbos placed fifth out of 10 teams at the tournament, and they will be looking for even greater success this year.