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Liu, Men's Golf Braves Weather; Tops Field at Century Intercollegiate

Pictured: Seiji Liu

By Theo Lederhausen '14

This week the Harvard Men's Golf Team traveled to Purchase, N.Y. for the Century Intercollegiate hosted by Yale University. The event was played at Century Country Club, a fabulous course that has hosted many tournaments including multiple U.S. Open Sectional Qualifiers. The par 71 course plays 6900 yards, with quick greens and tight fairways.  The tournament featured eight strong teams, including Ivy League rivals Yale and Princeton.

After arriving on Friday, the team played a practice round in perfect conditions with minimal wind. The course seemed difficult but playable if managed correct.  After a disappointing finish the prior weekend at Princeton, the team was ready and excited to build some momentum leading up to Ivy's.

When the team arrived Saturday morning, it was clear that the weather was going to be a significant factor.  The temperature was in the low 40s with strong wind and rain scheduled for later in the afternoon.  According to Coach Jim Burke, it was one of the most difficult days of golf he has seen in his coaching career.

Since scores were certain to be high, the team focused on minimizing high numbers while fighting through the conditions.   With the benefit of an earlier tee time, the team only had to play through rain during most of the back nine. Despite not hitting his driver well, Seiji Liu '14 led the team and tied for the low round of the day with an impressive 77.  Theo Lederhausen '14 was 5 over par after 5 holes, but played well on the back nine to shoot 79.  New to the lineup, Michael Lai '14 played well to shoot a solid 81.  Mark Pollak '12 and captain Tony Grillo '14 shot 82 and 84, respectively.  Connor Wentzell '12, playing as an individual, teed off two hours later and faced much heavier rain, shooting a respectable 86. Harvard shot a solid 319 given the weather conditions, putting them in first place by 5 shots over Yale. The team was excited for day two to try to win its first tournament of the 2010-2011 season.

The second day of play was much warmer and sunnier at Century Country Club. However, the wind howled so scores were destined to be relatively high once again.  Most of Harvard's players struggled on the first 5 or 6 holes but were able to hang tough. Everyone fought hard to get their first victory of the season.

Seiji Liu played his last 13 holes 1 under par to shoot 75 and win his first collegiate tournament. Theo Lederhausen shot another 79 to finish in 8th place for the tournament, and Captain Tony Grillo came back with a great 75 to finish in 9th place. Mark Pollak shot 80 to finish in 19th place, and Michael Lai shot 84, putting him in 28th place. Connor Wentzell fired 82 to finish in 32nd place for the weekend. The team finished with a round two score of 309, giving them a 628 t! wo round total. This score was enough to beat George Washington University by one stroke.  Beating rivals Yale and Princeton is a great confidence booster for Ivy's next weekend.  

The team will practice tomorrow and Wednesday before leaving for the Ivy League Championship on Wednesday evening. Team members look forward to finishing a great season of competition with a victory at Ivy's.