Golf team posts strongest start in over a decade

Sophomore Harry Theodore sinks a putt on the 12th hole in the NESCAC Qualifier at Indian Hill Golf Club in Newington, Conn. on Sept. 30, 2017. Evan Sayles / The Tufts Daily Archives

Tufts opened up its 2018 campaign at the two-day Bill Detrick Invitational, hosted by Trinity College, where it recorded a fourth-place finish. This is the team’s best start to a season since 2007, when it took third place at the Bowdoin Invitational.

Host Trinity, the defending NESCAC champions, fielded two teams — one of which took an 11-shot lead after the first day. Senior Will Rosenfield, who was crucial to the Bantams’ success in last year’s conference tournament, led the way at the Detrick Invitational, as one of only three players to record scores under par in Saturday’s first round. Rosenfield’s teammate, senior Joseph Ladd, trailed closely with a 1-under 71 performance on Day 1.

The Jumbos’ combined first-round score of 301 put them in third place — just one stroke behind the second-place Babson Beavers — after the first round. Senior co-captain Justin Feldman sat in a tie for sixth overall, shooting a 2-over-par 74 in the first round to lead the Jumbos. Junior Brandon Karr finished tied for ninth at 3-over par, while classmate Ethan Sorkin finished tied for 15th at 4-over.

Tufts’ younger golfers also impressed. In his first-ever collegiate tournament, first-year John Bredahl shot an opening-round 76, while sophomore Henry Hughes recorded a 5-over-par 77 to tie for 20th.

While a slight dip in performance on Sunday dropped Tufts to fourth overall, Karr improved on his first-round performance, shooting a 1-over-par 73 to finish the tournament at 4-over-par, good for ninth place. However, Karr was one of only two Jumbos to post a better score on Day 2.

Feldman shot a 77 to finish at 7-over par for the tournament and in a tie for 14th, while Bredahl shot a 78 to tie for 18th at 10-over. Hughes struggled to get going on Sunday, posting a 10-over 82. Hughes and Sorkin (11-over on Day 2) finished in a tie for 30th with matching scores of 15-over 159.

Meanwhile, Amherst posted 16-over 304 for the second straight day to leapfrog Tufts into third place. While the Jumbos will take satisfaction from their performance, a host of Sunday missteps should serve as a positive learning experience.

“Performing well as a team in our first tournament of the year is a huge confidence boost that will carry us to our next weekend at Middlebury,” Feldman said. “It’s a good first step towards our main Fall goal of qualifying for the NESCAC Championship. We still have work to do, but this past weekend is hopefully a good sign of what is yet to come.”

Karr echoed this sentiment, adding that while the team’s competition will be very difficult this year, he believes it is capable of contending with a plethora of talented opponents.

“It’s always nice to be able to contribute in any event,” Karr told the Daily in an email. “This was a very good start to the season for us and showed a lot of promise, but scores across the board were lower this year. Guys have been putting in work across the conference. We know that we have a lot of work to do to win and ultimately get to Nationals, but we’re all really excited about the journey. We have a lot of young [first-year] talent and experience in returners. I’m looking forward to watching the new guys get comfortable and seeing them post some low numbers.”

Tufts finished its opening tournament of the 2018–19 campaign with an overall score of 611 (35-over-par). Host Trinity won handily with a 4-under 572. The Jumbos saw strong performances out of returning and new members alike — an especially promising sign for the first event of the season. Feldman believes that if the team continues to play well and improve on its mistakes, it can achieve impressive heights.

“The team’s expectations involve getting better from one week to the next,” Feldman said. “We should keep the positives from the prior week and improve upon our negatives. If each person on the team can achieve this individually, the only place to go for the team is up.”

Tufts will tee off at Middlebury’s Ralph Myhre Golf Course this weekend for the annual Duke Nelson Invitational.