Last weekend, Fordham Golf moved further into its fall season with a seventh-place finish at the Macdonald Cup, hosted by the Yale University Bulldogs. The players had to fight through rainy and windy conditions, but the Rams, who turned in rounds of 298 and 294 to finish four strokes out of the top five and 24 strokes behind the victors. The host track, Yale University Golf Club, is one of the most prominent college golf courses in the northeast and was designed by a team consisting of Charles Blair Macdonald, Seth Raynor and Charles Banks.
After arriving in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, the Rams’ opening 298 was enough to put them in the top five through the first 18 holes. However, although Fordham followed that score up with a 294, it was overtaken by teams that managed even more significant second round surges: Yale (285) and Rutgers (288). When all was said and done, the Rams stood in seventh place, just outside of the top half of the 13-team field.
“For a tournament with as much history as the Macdonald Cup, finishing seventh is very respectable,” said sophomore Joseph Trim. “The weather was awful. We were dodging the hurricane the whole weekend. The tournament became a test of which team could withstand the elements the best, which I believe we did very well.”
Sophomore James Mongey delivered a career-best finish, a tie for sixth place, and paced all Fordham players over the weekend. While others watched their performance fluctuate between the two days of play, Mongey was steady, shooting twin 72s to remain among the leaderboard’s upper reaches. Sophomore Matt Schiller did not finish far behind, signing for rounds of 74 and 72 en route to a tie for 13th.
“It was a solid finish,” said Mongey. “I putted really well. My ball striking isn’t as good as it normally is, but I made putts and it gave me confidence.”
The other Rams were not so productive. Junior Fernando Morett, coming off of a career-best finish at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge in Vermont, failed to keep the magic going, signing for a 75 and 76 and tying for 35th. Trim stumbled out of the gate with an opening 79, but was able to right the ship on Saturday for a closing 74. Finally, freshman Tommy Hayes notched twin 77s for a tie for 45th, rounding out the scoring for Fordham.
“With multiple blind spots and the weather as bad as it was, it’s hard to stick to your original game plan,” said Trim. “I got off to poor starts both days, but once I settled in, I was able to hit some better shots and salvage what I could from the round.”
The Harvard Crimson was victorious, managing the top two round scores of the tournament: 285 in the first and 283 in the second. It was enough for them to cruise to a 12-stroke margin of victory over Minnesota. Minnesota’s Jon DuToit was the medalist, opening with a 72 and closing with a tournament-low 67 to shoot up the leaderboard.
While the Rams were likely looking to remain in the top five all weekend, it was still a strong performance, something that has become the norm for this season. Despite losing three seniors between last season and this one, Fordham has improved dramatically. In last fall’s full-field tournaments, the team finished in the top seven in just one out of six events, but this fall it is three-for-four.
Fordham Golf will tee it up again next week at the Lehigh Invitational, the final event of the fall. When the Rams arrive at Saucon Valley Country Club, they should feel the good vibes from last year — the team finished fourth in the 2014 edition. That week, Trim tied for 23rd on the individual leaderboard, while Schiller, making just the fifth start of his collegiate career, tied for 60th.
Whether or not the Rams can match their performance from last year in the final event of this fall season, it has been a positive few weeks for the team. Although they have yet to win, they are, if nothing else, well-positioned to compete in the spring and armed with the knowledge that the new-look Fordham golf team is holding up just fine.