On a hot and humid Easter Sunday, golf closed out its first match of the season against a formidable Williams squad. Though the final scorecard reflected a 620-705 victory for the Ephs (remember, dear reader, that in golf, the lower number wins), the Cardinals showed excellent potential as they readied themselves for the remaining matches of the spring.
The Birds came in Saturday still shaking off the winter rust that had grown thick thanks to a particularly enthusiastic series of spring blizzards. These untimely storms kept the team off the links until only a week ago. With plenty of early-season adjustments still being made in real-time throughout the weekend, they welcomed Williams to their home, the Lyman Orchards’ Jones course. The course is built into a steep hill overlooking the surrounding valley, forming an upper and lower plateau, which can lead to chaotic wind conditions. These effects were felt heavily Saturday morning, with strong gusts blowing the occasional errant shot far off course. Along with the gusts came low temperatures and wind chill, restricting the team’s ability to physically get into the fluid rhythm that they would need to challenge their strong opponents.
This cold and blustery weather was reflected most notably in the two-day scores of Jared Fineberg ’17 and Walker Harris ’20, both of whom were able to cut 12 strokes off their respective daily totals from Saturday to Sunday. Captain Zach Lambros ’17, a driving leadership presence on the team, reflected on the difference between the pair of afternoons.
“On Saturday I felt that I scored well given the wind and how I was playing,” said Lambros. “Whereas on Sunday, a couple of errant putts late in the day left me with a score that I felt didn’t reflect the quality of my ball striking.”
This seemed to mirror the general trajectory of the weekend for the Birds, as they worked on the fly to orient themselves in their swings for the young season. Lambros led the Cardinals, finishing with an 81-80 (Saturday score-Sunday score) for a total of 161. Brian Gerner ’18, Colin O’Keeffe ’17, and Harris followed with a 180, 181, and 184, respectively, while Elliot Witdorchic ’20 carded a 192 and Fineberg closed with a 202. Sam Goldenring of Williams led the weekend with a 75-76 for a total of 151, while for the women, Saadia Naeem ’20 finished the match with a 228.
As Sunday morning dawned, it brought brilliant sun and warm temperatures, but carried also a faint haze, foreshadowing the cruel afternoon humidity that was to come. This weighty water vapor, combined with the exhaustion that comes with a two-day match, took its toll on the hometown duffers. Lambros’ Sunday performance reflected this exhaustion, as the physics and astronomy student carried a score of just two shots over par into the 14th hole, but went six over through the final five, pushing his final score for Sunday to eight over par.
“It was choke city,” he said, commenting on the disappointing finish to an otherwise stellar round. “But I know what to work on and think that if I can get a couple small things fixed, I’ll be able to bring that score down by several strokes.”
He was similarly optimistic for his team, noting that as each player was able to get time at the range and settle back into their swings, the scores would come down in due time. Harris, a recent addition to the team, showed exciting potential in his first tournament with the Cardinals, making good contact with the ball while bringing a humble and positive attitude.
The Cardinals are back in action next weekend at the Williams Spring Invitational, thirsting for vengeance, while the short spring season wraps up the following Wednesday with the Little Three Championship, where WesSwing hopes to bring home yet another 2017 title.
“Someday soon there’s going to be a banner on the wall with ‘Cardinal Golf’ at the top,” Gerner said. “And while only etched in ink, the names on that golf banner will live on through eternity.”