Tufts placed 12th out of 22 teams in the New England Intercollegiate Golf Association (NEIGA) Div. III Championship in Brewster, Mass., to cap off off a stellar fall season. The finish came off a team score of 333 strokes on the first day of competition, which had them in 13th place at the end of Sunday, Oct. 20. The team mightily improved on the next day, scoring 323 for a 10-stroke improvement and a jump from 13th to 12th.
After clinching a berth in the NESCAC championship next spring, the NEIGA Championship was an opportunity for some players outside the regular starting rotation to gain experience. Sophomore Adam Schwimmer, first-year Kemp Bassett and senior Sanjay Mukherjee all made the NEIGA lineup and logged valuable playing time.
In addition to some of the newer players, mainstays junior Harry Theodore and sophomore Mac Bredahl also competed, putting up quality numbers to both tie for 12th after Monday. The two rallied on the second day and were a large contributing factor to the Jumbos’ advancement from 13th to 12th. Theodore shaved two strokes off his initial 79 to card a 77 on day two, while Bredahl improved from an 80 on day one to a 76 on day two.
The Captain’s Golf Course proved to be challenging for the Jumbos.
“The course is quite tricky,” Mukherjee said. “There are trees everywhere, and you have to be extremely accurate.”
The difficult course, paired with the massive field of competitors, left little margin for error, and the Jumbos ultimately came up a bit short of what they were hoping for. Tufts was only three strokes off of the 11th-place team, Salem State University, and four strokes away from 10th-place Endicott College.
Despite being slightly dissatisfied with their finish, the Jumbos had many impressive highlights throughout the tournament. Bredahl took over the 12th hole on Sunday with an eagle, while Theodore capped off the weekend with two straight birdies on the final two holes.
While the team came short of their expectations, many players welcomed the opportunity to grow and learn from their experiences.
“All in all I was very disappointed with how I performed this weekend,” Bassett said. “With that being said, I think this experience will help me a lot moving forward over these next four years as I’ve learned about what it takes to succeed in high pressure situations.”
Many of the team’s takeaways concerned future performances, where the NESCAC championship looms.
“We are excited for a productive offseason,” Mukherjee said. “And we are dedicating all our efforts to winning the championship at Williams in the spring.”
With NEIGA being the final tournament of 2019, it was also a great opportunity for players to reflect on the fall season as a whole.
“Everyone was extremely dedicated,” Mukherjee said. “We had a good group of [first-years], and our starters stepped up in the biggest of moments. Overall, this has been the most incredible season.”
Preparing for the spring is the next step for the Jumbos, where they will stare down their third consecutive NESCAC championship. They will sadly be missing two regular starters — Bredahl and Theodore — but there is widespread confidence that the deep squad will be able to go to Williams and put up a great fight in April.