By Fred Schernecker
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Harvard Golf Program gathered on Saturday May 5th at the Murr Center Hall of History to celebrate the 2011-12 season.
Thank you to the Friends of Harvard Golf who make this annual banquet possible and to our Friends, alums and parents who were in attendance.
The evening served as an opportunity to celebrate success and recognize the achievements of our teams and individual members.
Perhaps the most noteworthy accomplishment for both teams happened off the course. We have been tracking team GPAs for the past several years. The team GPA after the fall semester was 3.71 for the men's team and 3.69 for the women's team.
MEN'S GOLF TEAM: Coach Burke began the banquet with a recap of the men's season. Led by an outstanding senior class, the hallmark of this team was its superior effort and commitment level. Similar efforts moving forward are sure to lead to significant rewards. The team scoring average this year was 295 -- the lowest tournament scoring average in team history! The best tournament showing was a second-place finish to Rhode Island at the Century Intercollegiate where five Ivy teams competed alongside several other northeast teams. Two weekends ago, a handful of strokes separated the team from their first Ivy Championship since 1975.
The departure of our seniors will create a large hole in the lineup. Mark Pollak '12 leaves Harvard with the lowest career scoring average in team history -- 74.4. Mark also holds the Harvard record with the most rounds of par or better (12) and is second in individual tournament wins with three. Mark and Tony Grillo '12 currently own the top four season scoring average records in the history of Harvard Golf. Tony's 2011-12 season scoring average of 72.53 was the lowest in team history and lead to the best national ranking ever received by a Harvard player. Tony also holds the record for the best single round score versus par -- a 4-under par 67 at Princeton this year.
At the Ivy League Championships Akash Mirchandani '15 and Grillo earned 2nd Team All Ivy honors by tying for 7th place.
Following are the men's team award winners for 2011-12.
Rob Erickson '01 Team Player Award: "Rob Erickson was a three year golf letterman and member of the class of '01 who passed away on January 20, 2005. His friends and teammates knew Rob as a strong advocate for his school, his friends, and the values he shared with his parents. While every Harvard student remembers how it felt to open their acceptance letter, Rob seemed to carry that feeling with him every day throughout college. As a Harvard student-athlete, Rob saw it as his responsibility to help younger players feel welcome at Harvard. When recruits visited campus, Rob was the first to meet them and always offered to house them during their stay. Those who eventually came to Harvard knew they already had one good friend on the team.
In recognition of Rob's contributions to Harvard and the golf program, the golf team has created a Team Player award to be given to the golfer who best follows Rob's example in his commitment to team and community – the Rob Erickson '01 Team Player Award."
'05 – Tom Hegge '07 '06 – James Cleary '06 '07 – Tom Hegge '07
'08 – Mike Shore '09 '09 – John Christensen '09 '10 – Peter Singh '10
'11 -- Theo Lederhausen '14
Congratulations to the 2012 winner of the Rob Erickson '01 Team Player Award: Theo Lederhausen '14.
Alex Vik '78 MVP: "As a freshman in 1975, Alex won the inaugural Ivy League Championship individually and led the team to their only team Ivy League Championship the same year. The following year he won the individual trophy again and followed up with two more All Ivy performances. Alex has continued to be avaluable member of the Harvard Golf program as a Co-Chair of the Friends of Harvard Board and the father of women's team member Caroline Vik. This award is given annually to the team member who is most responsible for moving the program toward its vision of becoming the best program in the Northeast."
'05 – Chris Wu '05 '06 – David (DJ) Hynes '06 '07 – Greg Shuman '10
'08 – Not awarded. '09 – Greg Shuman '10 '10 – Tony Grillo '12
'11 -- Mark Pollak '12
Congratulations to the 2012 winner of the Alex Vik '78 MVP Award: Tony Grillo '12.
The Biff Jeeks Harvard Golf Award: "Named in honor of the legendary man, this award is given to the Harvard golfer who best exemplifies the traditions of excellence at Harvard, who best represents Harvard Golf and whose fighting spirit and character helps them and their teammates overachieve."
'10 – Greg Shuman '10 '11 -- Kevin McCarthy '14
The 2012 Biff Jeeks award winner is Tony Grillo '12
Captain: Prior to the banquet, the team voted for team captain. Congratulations to Theo Lederhausen '14 who will be serving as captain this coming year succeeding Tony Grillo.
WOMEN'S GOLF TEAM: Coach Kevin Rhoads shared the many highlights of the women's season. The team played in seven full-field tournaments and earned four victories and one second place. The Ivy Championship was the culmination of a season that included a 22 & 1 record against other Ivy League schools and a two stroke per round improvement in tournament scoring average. The team has returned to its winning ways and now holds three of the past five Ivy Championships -- no other team has more than one Ivy Championship in the past six years.
Individual highlights include Tiffany Lim '15 winning the first two tournaments of her career at Yale and Princeton. Tiffany's tournament scoring average of 75.42 is the lowest in team history and earned Tiffany the best national ranking for a Harvard player. Tiffany already holds two career records including most par or better rounds (4) and the two best 54-hole tournament scores. Members of this year's team hold the four best season scoring averages in team history -- Christine Cho '12, Bonnie Hu '14 (2nd and 3rd) and Lim. Cho is graduating with the team's lowest career scoring average at 77.82 and the team record for career round played. Jane Lee '12 and Cho cap off their four years at Harvard with two Ivy Championships while Cho is the proud owner of an Ivy League Rookie of the Year and Ivy League Player of the Year.
Team members racked up individual honors at this year's Ivy Championship. Bonnie Hu '14 is the second player in team history (after Emily Balmert '08) to win the individual Ivy League Championship. Lim and Lee earned second team All Ivy and Lim was the unanimous selection as Ivy League Rookie of the year -- Harvard's third in the past four years.
Following are the women's team award winners for 2011 - 12.
The Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award: "Warren Smith started the Harvard Women's Golf program in 1993. For most people who knew Warren, he was the nicest man they knew. A true gentleman. A good man who always had a kind and helpful thing to say. He was a father and a grandfather away from home for many Harvard students and a role model for all. In difficult times and good times; through personal adversity Warren always exhibited Sportsmanship, Dedication, Etiquette, and Kindness. Harvard Women's Golf awards the Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award each year to the team member who best exemplifies the ideals established by Coach Smith."
'02 – Elisa Schaar '04 '03 – Jennifer Cronan '06 '04 – Jacquie Rooney '07
'05 – Carrie Baizer '05 '06 – Caitlin Hicks '06 '07 – Jacquie Rooney '07
'08 – Debbi Amanti '08 '09 – Claire Sheldon '10 '10 – Sarah Harvey '10
'11 -- Chloe Altchek '13
Congratulations to the 2012 winner of the Warren Smith Sportsmanship Award: Jane Lee '12
The Biff Jeeks Harvard Golf Award: "Named in honor of the legendary man, this award is given to the Harvard golfer who best exemplifies the traditions of excellence at Harvard, who best represents Harvard Golf and whose fighting spirit helps them and their teammates overachieve."
Congratulations to this year's Biff Jeeks Award winner: Bonnie Hu '14.
The Leslie E. Greis '80 MVP Award: "A trailblazer for women's golf at Harvard before there was a women's team, Leslie earned a spot on the men's varsity team as a freshman in 1976. She played in men's team tournaments, including a match where she competed as Harvard's number one player against Bates and MIT, and in the few women's individual collegiate tournaments that existed at the time. She was the 1978 Women's Ivy League Champion. After graduation, she competed professionally and became Harvard's first golfer, male or female, to win the National Golf Foundation's Rolex Achievement Award. A supporter of the game on a national level, Leslie became the second-ever women to serve on the PGA of America's Board of Directors and she also served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the LPGA. The Leslie E. Greis '80 MVP Award is given annually to the player who is the most valuable competitor for the team and who shows leadership through her respect for her teammates & for the values of the game."
Congratulations to the first winner of the Leslie E. Greis '80 MVP Award: Tiffany Lim '15
Captain: Prior to the banquet, the team elected Bonnie Hu '14 as their new captain succeeding outgoing senior Christine Cho.