Harvard Men's Golf Competes at Windon Memorial

Akash Mirchandani and the Crimson head to the Temple Invitational Oct. 12 (Harvard Athletic Communications).

By Rohan Ramnath '16

One week following their strong showing on Long Island, the Crimson were ready to hit the road and showcase their talent against great competition at the Windon Memorial tournament hosted by Northwestern University.
After attacking a sumptuous breakfast, the men headed to the Knollwood Club for their practice round Saturday morning.  Knollwood features perfectly manicured short game areas, an expansive driving range, and a smooth putting green.  The staff and members were hospitable and showed great enthusiasm in having so many guests.  The men honed their skills on the practice facility and then headed out on the course to get a taste of what they would face the next few days.  The 7,200-yard course proved to be a worthy opponent. 
The team members took in the details that would help them achieve success during the tournament rounds.  The fairway bunkers were well-placed near the landing areas and playing out of them often did not allow an approach shot to reach the green. The rough was substantial enough to prevent players from controlling their spin on approach shots.  These factors put a premium on driving the ball well – and proved to be one of two main keys to scoring.  The greens were pure and fast.  Placing the ball on the greens in the correct location important as was having specific speed and directional control. To be successful given these factors players would need to be mentally strong and engaged while adjusting to whatever trends were manifesting themselves throughout the rounds.  And, of course, they had to execute.
The day's events concluded with a coat and tie dinner for all teams at the club, the quality of which will surely be spoken of throughout the year!  The team then headed back to the hotel in order to be well rested for the start of the tournament.
The first day featured playing partners from DePaul, Penn State, and University of California Davis.  The men battled cold conditions in the morning and a steady wind throughout the day.  The Crimson are very good ball-strikers as a group, but they weren't able to hit as many fairways as usual and it made low scoring difficult.  Akash Mirchandani '15 (Prospect, KY ) led the way with a strong round of 2 over par 74.  He was closely followed by Rohan Ramnath '16 (Weston, FL) and Robert Deng '17 (Irvine, CA) with rounds of 75 each.  Kendrick Vinar '17 (Chapel Hill, NC) and Un Cho '16 (Ancaster, Ontario) rounded out the group with rounds of 78 and 81 respectively.  The Crimson had lunch on the go and continued on with their second round, showing excellent perseverance throughout. 
In the afternoon 18 Vinar rebounded in strong fashion to lead the team with an even par 72.  Ramnath followed with another 75 while Mirchandani and Deng kept up the strong play with rounds of 77 each.  Cho finished with a round of 80.  Exhausted from 10 straight hours of golf, the men returned to the hotel satisfied with the way they managed their games and the conditions.
The Crimson came out much sharper on the second day and executed at a higher level.  They were paced by Mirchandani and Ramnath who shot 73 apiece.  Cho improved by shooting a birdie-laced 75, and he was followed by Deng and Vinar who shot 75 and 80, respectively.  The final-round course conditions were difficult with devilish pins, but the men showed they were up to the task and fired their best 18-hole team score of the week – their 296 was the seventh best score of the day.  The Crimson were encouraged by their resolve and embracement of the improvement process.
The flight home featured a mix of sleep and catching up on work.  The weeks ahead show great promise for the players.  The team has a few weekends off from competition and will use the time to work on improving their games and staying on top of schoolwork.  They look to be in top form entering the latter half of the fall competitive season.