Men's Golf Takes Third at Ivy Championships; Deng Named Rookie of the Year
Robert Deng (right) was named the men's Ivy League Rookie of the Year, while Anne Cheng (left) was tabbed the women's top rookie (Ivy League).
SPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- The Harvard men's golf team placed third at the Ivy League Championships, shooting a collected score of 895 during the three-day event at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Freshmen Robert Deng was tabbed the Ivy League Rookie of the Year, while senior captain Theo Lederhausen won the individual Ivy title, marking the first time a Crimson player has won that honor since 1998.
Lederhausen shot 72-72-71-215 over the three days and was the only Harvard player to finish in the top 12.
"I'm really proud of the men's team," said Kevin Rhoad, the head coach for Harvard men's and women's golf. "They a set new Harvard scoring record at Yale's Tournament and established new overall program 36 and 54 hole scoring records at Princeton a few weeks ago. They certainly had strong momentum coming into the Ivy championships. So although they did not get the team result they were going for, I'm really pleased with the level of the team, which I know will translate well in the coming years."
"I'm also thrilled for Theo (Lederhausen) getting to go out as Ivy individual champion," Rhoads continued. He mastered both himself and the course, and was able to earn Harvard's first individual victory since 1998."
Deng (76-72-76-224) placed tied for 13th, followed by Akash Mirchandani (78-73-77-228) and Kendrick Vinar (73-76-79-228), who finished tied for 18th. Rounding out the field for Harvard, Rohan Ramnath finished in a tie for 35th (78-80-80-238).
Columbia (881) won the Ivy team title, followed by Yale (893), Harvard, Princeton (905), Brown (908), Dartmouth (913), Cornell (914) and Penn (917).
By: Rohan Ramnath '16
This past weekend the Crimson competed in the Ivy League Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club. The team traveled to Springfield, New Jersey on Wednesday evening after classes and short practice session at The Country Club. Baltusrol has hosted many USGA and PGA championships including the 2005 PGA Championship won by Phil Mickelson. The men were ecstatic to be given the opportunity to play at such a historic venue and eagerly took to the course for their practice round. The course proved to be difficult with firm and speedy greens, long par fours, and thick rough.
As the championship began, Harvard looked to build on a strong spring season that featured two team wins and a pair of individual victories. The team warmed up early on Friday morning by hitting a few shots on the range and rolling putts to gauge the speed of the tricky greens. The weather was windy and cool but sunny all day. The Crimson jumped to an early tie for the lead at 299 (+19). Captain Theo Lederhausen '14, who fired a steady two over par 72, led the team and Kendrick Vinar '17 followed closely with a solid round of 73. Freshman Robert Deng '17 finished with a 76, followed by Akash Mirchandani '15 and Rohan Ramnath '16 who finished with rounds of 78 apiece.
The next morning, the Crimson found themselves paired with familiar faces from Dartmouth after both teams slept with a share of the lead the night before. Swirling winds were present for everyone, but Harvard and Dartmouth – playing in the last wave - also had three lightning delays and rain in the last two hours on the course. Harvard wavered neither in composure nor patience and put together their strongest round of the week with a total of 293. Lederhausen led the team again as he split the middle of most fairways with his driver en route to another two over 72. Deng showed o ff his penetrating ball flight and equaled "Captain Teddy" with a round of 72 of his own. Mirchandani drained some long birdie putts early on to post a respectable 73. The Crimson were rounded out by Vinar's 76 and Ramnath's 80. The day belonged to Columbia, however, who got in before the weather delays and totaled an impressive four-under 276 to take an 11 shot lead over Yale going into the final round. Harvard stood 14 back of Columbia.
Although trailing going into the final round, the Crimson stayed committed to their initial strategy and managed themselves with poise. The pin positions for the final day were among the trickiest of the week, and the difficulty of the golf course showed in the scores. The Crimson fired a total of 303. Another victory was not to be as the team finished 3rdin the field of eight, falling to winner Columbia by fourteen strokes total over three days of competition.
The highlight of the weekend was the brilliant play of Lederhausen '14. The senior captain captured the individual title and became the first H arvard golfer to do so since Alexander Gonzalez in 1998. As a testament to the current team's depth, Lederhausen's victory was the third individual title in three weeks by three different Harvard golfers. Lederhausen finished off an illustrious Ivy League career with impeccable ball striking and clutch putting as he navigated a treacherous golf course with seeming ease. On Sunday, Lederhausen glided through the course with an impressive 71 to lead the team and tie for individual tournament medalist. Dramatic birdies on 15 and 17 sandwiched a remarkab le up-and-down on 16 as Lederhausen closed out the round.
In a packed-gallery sudden-death playoff with Brown's Nelson Hargrove, Lederhausen played the difficult par four first hole to perfection with an easy two-putt par for the win. Lederhausen finished top-10 in all four tournaments this spring and finished, fittingly, with a tap-in for the win and warm embraces from his family and teammates whom he inspires on and off the course.
The season came to a close absent of the desired team result but full of success and promise for years to come. The men produced some of the best golf Harvard has seen. More importantly, team members stayed fully committed to controllable inputs throughout the season – a recipe that will surely be the foundation of success in future years. The team would like to thank coaches Kevin Rhoads, Daniel Joseph, and Director of Golf Fred Schernecker for their unconditional support and guidance throughout the year. They are also very grateful to all of the parents who flew in to watch the team perfo rm. Mr. Paul Weissman '52 attended the round on Saturday and continues to be an awesome friend of the program. Several other current and former team members – Mark Pollak '12, Kevin McCarthy '14, Michael Lai '14 and Doug Eaton '63 made the trip to New Jersey to show much appreciated support. We would all like to thank the Friends of Harvard Golf for helping enable this experience, and Baltusrol Golf Club for hosting an amazing tournament.