Tufts traveled to Middlebury’s Ralph Myhre Golf Course over the weekend to compete in the Duke Nelson Invitational in its second tournament of the fall season.
The Jumbos tied with the Springfield College Pride for tenth place in a field of 22 teams over the tournament’s two rounds. The Duke Nelson Invitational is a staple of the team’s fall season, with the Jumbos competing in it every year since 2005. Tufts finished with a two-round total of 608 strokes, while NESCAC foe Williams finished with a winning score of 584. Trinity (588) and NYU (590) rounded out the top three finishers.
Representing the Jumbos were senior co-captain Justin Feldman, junior Brandon Karr, sophomore Henry Hughes, sophomore Harry Theodore and first-year Mac Bredahl.
Bredahl led the Jumbos on Saturday, finishing with a 2-over-par 73, followed by Hughes, who finished with a 75. The team’s first round scoring was capped by Karr (78), Feldman (79) and Theodore (80) for a total of 305. The Jumbos went into Sunday’s final round in 11th place, right in the middle of the pack.
Despite competing in his second-ever collegiate tournament, Bredahl is already contributing to the team’s success.
“Being able to contribute to our team is an honor with the amount of talent we have,” Bredahl said. “As a [first-year], the older guys have really helped all of us ease into the team and allowed us to play with confidence, regardless [of] our age. Going forward, both individually and as a team, we are looking to get better every week and continue to put solid scores up over the weekend.”
The team performed well in the second round, finishing at 303 strokes to move into a tie for tenth place. Feldman demonstrated why he has been one of Tufts’ top performers in past years, as he was able to improve considerably on his Saturday performance. The Longmeadow, Mass. native shot a 2-over 73, shaving off six strokes.
“Golf is funny in the way that your game can turn on and off so quickly,” Feldman said. “I actually played very well the first day but just managed the course poorly, and my score showed it. It was just a matter of managing the golf course’s front nine better. I improved eight strokes on the front nine, alone, from the first day to the second day. I improved only six shots on the full 18 [holes]. It’s always a battle to get out of a bad rhythm on the course, but once I did, I was much more comfortable and performed much better the second day.”
Hughes was able to shave off one stroke in the second round, as he shot a 74 to finish tied for 20th overall — the Jumbos’ top finisher. Bredahl and Karr rounded out Tufts’ scoring with scores of 6-over 77 and 8-over 79, respectively.
However, the team’s tied-for-10th finish at the Duke Nelson Invitational represented a step back from its performance in 2017. The Jumbos are used to seeing much lower scores on the Middlebury, Vt. course, as they finished fifth with an overall score of 595 last year.
Feldman noted the team’s disappointment, but indicated that it can use this year’s performance as an opportunity for growth and preparation before the season’s bigger tournaments.
“This invitational has been a favorite for our team. Usually, it is a big confidence builder and gets the team to see some lower scores,” he said. “The course is short, the weather and course conditions are usually still nice, and the course is relatively easier than the other ones we play. It’s definitely easier to feel comfortable in this tournament than most of the others we play. Many teams came out to the tournament this year, and we learned that the other NESCAC teams have improved immensely just as we have. Our team now understands what we need to do in the next two weeks to be prepared for NESCAC qualifying.”
Tufts will travel to Williams’ Taconic Golf Club to compete in the Williams Fall Invite this weekend. The Jumbos are sure to face a tough challenge in the Berkshires. Not only did the Ephs win the Duke Nelson Invitational, but they also boast its top scorer in junior Sam Goldenring, who was the only player in the field to shoot under par with a 3-under 139.
The Williams Fall Invite will be the team’s last competition before the NESCAC Qualifier in Middlefield, Conn. the following weekend.