Golf places first of 8 at Western New England Invitational

Tufts senior Travis Clauson is pictured competing in the Western New England Invitational on April 6th. Courtesy Brian Golden

The Tufts men’s golf team claimed first place at the Western New England Invitational this past Saturday. Tufts’ top four golfers scored a total of 297 strokes, beating out second place Nichols College, which totaled 310, by 13 strokes.

This tournament took place at the par-72 Wilbraham Country Club in Wilbraham, Mass., with eight teams competing in the one day tournament. Trinity College came in third place, with its four best scores totaling 313. Springfield College, Roger Williams University, Amherst College, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Western New England University also competed.

“The course this past Saturday, I would say it’s pretty similar [to our home course] in the fact that it’s just early in the spring,” sophomore Jack Meehan said. “The conditions are hard to be perfect this time of year, but we’re okay with that. …The front line [of the course] was wide open, [it was] hard to hit it out of bounds and the back line was a lot tighter, but the green complexes were difficult. The weather was also pretty brutal; it got rainy on the back nine.”

Individually, Meehan and senior co-captain Travis Clauson tied for second overall with scores of 73, one over par. They came in just behind Amherst’s Steven Chen who scored a 70, two under, for the best individual score of the tournament.

“I think that mentally we hung in there well because the weather wasn’t good,” Meehan said. “We’d never seen [the course] before, and it’s just early in the season. … I think that our mental games were great, and I think that we fed off each other nicely. A lot of us would talk mid-route and we all knew we were playing well, so the energy was good from all five of us which is pretty rare.”

The Jumbos’ third score, senior co-captain Adam Schwimmer, tied for fourth overall, shooting 75. Junior Kemp Bassett rounded out Tufts’ top four scorers with a 76 and junior Ben Blasé came in right behind with a score of 77, placing him fifth for the Jumbos.

This marked Tufts’ second tournament of the spring season, as the Tim Brown Invitational was canceled the weekend before. The Jumbos will compete at the Williams Invitational at Taconic Golf Club this weekend before the NESCAC Championships on April 30 and May 1.

“This weekend the course will be a lot more difficult, but the greens will be a lot more what we’re used to, and it’ll be a very fair test even though it’s a difficult course,” Meehan said. “I think we just need to keep things focused on the course and preserve rounds to keep things from falling apart and keeping all guys in the mid 70s.”

This year, the NESCAC Championships will be hosted by Hamilton College at Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford, N.Y.

“The goal is to win NESCACs, which seems very in reach,” Meehan said. “On a good day, we are very much better than [our competition]. This past weekend we played some of the NESCAC teams that were supposed to be pretty good and we handled them pretty swiftly, which was nice. … I think if we start making some more of those five footers for par, keep our mental game in it and avoid those disastrous holes, then I think that we have a really good shot at NESCACs.”