Harvard Men's Golf Places 11th at McLaughlin Invitational
Theo Lederhausen led Harvard at the McLaughlin Invitational (Harvard Athletic Communications).
By Kevin Rhoads, Head Coach
The 2012-213 Harvard Men's golf campaign began with The McLaughlin, hosted by St. John's University at the Red Course at Bethpage State Park. Like the Black Course at Bethpage, site of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens, the Red Course is a fine A.W. Tillinghast design. It is characterized by rolling and meandering terrain, and smooth, fast greens that are protected by beautiful bunkering and sticky rough.
Saturday was a 36-hole day for the first and second rounds. Play was in fourballs, and the pace of play eventually meant 11 hours of continuous play – a fact that would eventually prove challenging for the Crimson. The first round got the year off to a great start. Despite swirling winds Harvard fired 285 to sit tied for 2nd in the 16-team field, 6 shots behind leader Auburn. Captain Theo Lederhausen ('14, Chicago, IL) paced the squad, shooting 2-under par 68. Seiji Liu ('14, Beverly Hills, CA) had a solid ball-striking round and shot even-par 70. Kevin McCarthy ('14, Lynn, MA) also had a great shot-making round, shooting 72. Akash Mirchandani ('15, Prospect, KY) and Michael Lai ('14, Redlands, CA) shot 75 and 79 respectively.
In round 2 the winds continued to swirl and the greens became firmer. On an average approach balls that would typically spin back 10 feet bounced forward 15 feet. This required commitment and good adjustment from the players. The Crimson seemed up to the challenge for the beginning of the round. Harvard was building momentum throughout the day, even after the first round took 5 hours and 40 minutes to complete. The front nine of the second round appeared to be progressing at a similar pace. Everyone soon realized that finishing the second round before dark would require a much faster pace. As the teams tried to speed up, but were still backed up against the players ahead of them, Harvard lost it's rhythm and pace a bit.
By the end of the round, mental and physical fatigue from the long day slightly got the better of the Crimson, and they lost a few strokes coming in. McCarthy lead Harvard in the afternoon shooting 72. Liu shot 73, Mirchandani shot 74, Lederhausen 75, and Lai 76. In the afternoon round, Harvard shot 295, a fairly respectable score, but not representative of how the team was playing early in the round. Thus, Harvard fell from a tie for 2nd to 6th place. Interestingly, those teams that teed off on the front side instead of the back, as Harvard had, did not finish all of their rounds. A couple of groups needed to come back on Sunday morning to finish their round. They were then teed off in their existing groups, with Harvard teeing off last with their first days' playing partners.
Again in round 3, Harvard didn't shoot poor scores, but no one could quite find the sharpness needed to post a really low round. Mirchandani played the best in the third round, driving well and also approaching well enough to leave a number of birdie putts. He hit lots of very fine putts with great speed, but the majority of them slid over edges and he shot 72. Lederhausen shot 73 which included a hole-out eagle from the fairway on #3, and Lai also rebounded to shoot 73. McCarthy and Liu also hit many good shots, but were only able to manage 75. Harvard's 293 total on day 3 was a reasonable result, and stacked up well against the teams they were paired with. But although they didn't have any high rounds, which was an indication of a strong ability to get the most out of what they had on Sunday, they didn't have one or two low rounds like most of the other teams to take their total lower. They fell to 11th place, which belied the level of the majority of their play over the weekend.
Next, the Crimson head to Northwestern's tournament - The Windon - which will be September 23 and 24th outside of Chicago. The team expects to build on the numerous positive aspects of this weekend while shoring up a few key areas in order to compete well at Northwestern.