Harvard Men's Golf Closes Fall at Ivy Match Play

Rohan Ramnath and the Crimson completed its fall season at Princeton Sunday (Harvard Athletic Communications).

By Daniel Joseph, Assistant Coach

The Ivy League Match Play was inaugurated in 2009 as a fun way for the Ivy teams to come together in friendly competition.  With all other events played in stroke play format, the match-play event offers a nice change of pace.  Thanks to Will Green – the coach of Princeton – the event re-started this fall after a brief hiatus.  Coach Green arranged for the event to take place at TPC Jasna Polana, a Gary Player-designed course at the country home of J. Seward Johnson near Princeton, NJ.
In spite of an ominous drive to New Jersey in torrential rain, the Crimson arrived on Friday with high hopes after a two-week layoff from competition.  After nearly two inches of rain on Friday, the practice round was not an ideal indicator of the course conditions for the weekend.  The Crimson entered the event without Seiji Liu '14 (Beverly Hills, CA) who led the Crimson with a 5th place finish at Yale two weeks prior. Liu was sidelined with a wrist injury that should be healed in time for the spring season.
On Saturday, the team woke to blue sky and sun with moderate temperatures for the first match of the tournament; perfect weather for scoring.  The Crimson competed against the Brown Bears in the first round.  Youth proved strong early for the Crimson. Freshmen Un Cho (Ancaster, Ont.) and Rohan Ramnath (Weston, Fla.) came out of the gates with solid performances earning 5&4 and 4&3 victories, respectively.  A back injury had kept Ramnath out of the lineup and this was his first tournament wearing Harvard Crimson.  He showed a preview of what the Crimson hope to see in the spring. 
Michael Lai '14 (Redlands, Calif.) and Akash Michandani '15 (Prospect, Ky.) played well, but ran into stronger performances by Justin Miller and Peter Callas of Brown. With the match tied at 2-2, both teams looked to the final match between Brown's Nelson Hargrove and Harvard's Theo Lederhausen '14 (Hinsdale, Ill.). Lederhausen dominated the front nine, but Hargrove came on strong on the back side going "two up" with three to play. Lederhausen won the 16th and 17th holes to pull the match to all square.  A wayward drive on the 18th left the door open, and Hargrove shut the door with two beautiful shots and a conceded birdie.  It was a difficult loss for the Crimson, but they gained wonderful experienced by putting themselves in a high pressure situation.

Kevin McCarthy '14 (Lynn, Mass.) was competing for a Composite team to round out the 8-team bracket, as Columbia was not participating in the event.  McCarthy played beautifully in a tight match with Yale's Will Davenport and finished all square.

With Round 1 in the books, the Crimson got right back on the course to face off against the Big Red of Cornell in their afternoon match.  The second match proved to be as challenging as the first.  Both teams scored well and put many birdies on the board.  Lai played well early in his match.  Solid play and few key birdies on the back nine by Cornell's Brandon Eng proved to be the difference in a 4&3 defeat. The other four matches were tightly contested and ended up being called for darkness to be resumed early Sunday morning with Cornell leading 1-0.

The matches resumed at 7:30am and the teams found the course firmed up and green speeds much quicker than the previous two days.   Ramnath only needed one hole to close out his opponent for a 2&1 victory.  Mirchandani battled Craig Esposito for two more holes in the morning session.  A tough break on the par-3 17th led to a ball bouncing off a cart path into a hazard to end the match in Cornell's favor -- 2&1.  Lederhausen started the morning session one up with three to play and halved the first two holes, but Cornell's Carl Schimenti forced extra holes with a solid par on the final hole. Lederhausen remained calm and showed great perseverance as this was the second match in row to "go the distance".  He stuck a six iron to six feet on the second playoff hole and made birdie to win his match and even the score of the team match at 2-2.  ! The match of the tournament involved Cho and Cornell's Zack Bosse.  Cho resumed the match Sunday morning on the final hole down 1, and made an incredible 30-foot, downhill slider to send the match into extra holes. Cho continued to play well, making clutch shot after clutch shot taking the match to the 24th hole. Cornell's Bosse played a beautiful shot over the trees on the par-4 14th to about 6 feet, and Cho was unable to get up and down from the right greenside rough.  Cornell took the match 3-2.  Cho and Lederhausen showed great poise and set the tone for Match 3.

Match 3 set the Crimson up against the Composite Team of Penn, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Brown. It would have been easy for the Crimson to show disappointment and lack of enthusiasm after two tough losses.  Instead, they showed great character and energy in the final Match.  Lai played his best golf of the weekend and made an all-world up-and-down to end his match early (5&4) over Brown's Jack Mylott.  Cho used the momentum from the wonderful match he played in the morning, adding in multiple birdies to defeat Penn's Patrick O'Leary 6&5.  Lederhausen also played his best golf of the weekend to defeat Yale's Thomas Greenhalgh 6&5.  Mirchandani ran into a buzz saw in Matt Gerber from Princeton who made seven birdies, five on the front nine alone. Mirchandani stayed patient to make four birdies of his own and force the match to the 18th hole, but he ultimately fell short to lose one down. The most interesting match of the day came with Ramnath playing a ! familiar opponent: teammate Kevin McCarthy.  This match was high-spirited and entertaining with both players making many birdies. It was clear that they brought out the best in each other. In the end, Ramnath was able to hold off McCarthy for a 2&1 victory. The Crimson took the match 4-1.

For the weekend, two Harvard golfers were undefeated: Ramnath was 3-0 while Lederhausen was 1-0-2.  In spite of the 24-hole loss, Cho was able to earn two victories.

The Ivy League Match Play provided valuable experience in pressure situations.  The two weeks of preparation paid off with some of the best golf all fall on display, which is especially impressive considering that the team is in the middle of a strenuous time in the classroom. The Crimson left Jasna Polana having learned many lessons both individually and as a team, and also having gained invaluable experience that will prove helpful when they return to action in the spring. Until then, team members will be taking care of the increasing course workload, hitting the gym, and tightening up technique before the spring campaign begins.

Par:        72   72   72              Yardage:  7098 7098 7098



DARTMOUTH COLLEGE      3.0    vs   Pennsylvania, U. of    2.0          

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY   4.5    vs   Cornell University       0.5          

BROWN UNIVERSITY          2.5*   vs   Harvard University     2.5

Nelson Hargrove         HALF        Theodore Lederhausen   HALF                 

PETER CALLAS           5&4        Akash Mirchandani                            

Jack Wilson                                  ROHAN RAMNATH          4&3                   

J.D. Ardell                                     UN CHO                            3&2                    

JUSTIN MILLER           6&5         Michael Lai                          



DARTMOUTH COLLEGE    2.5*   vs   Yale University        2.5          

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY  4.0    vs   Brown University     1.0         

CORNELL UNIVERSITY      3.0    vs   Harvard University   2.0 

Carl Schimenti             HALF        Theodore Lederhausen   HALF                  

CRAIG ESPOSITO      2&1           Akash Mirchandani                            

Max Koehler                                 ROHAN RAMNATH          3&1                   

Zack Bosse                 HALF         Un Cho                           HALF                  

BRANDON ENG           3&2         Michael Lai                          



PRINCETON UNIVERSITY   3.5    vs    Dartmouth College      1.5          

BROWN UNIVERSITY          3.0    vs    Yale University            2.0          

PENNSYLVANIA, U. OF       4.0    vs    Cornell University        1.0

HARVARD UNIVERSITY      4.0     vs   Composite Team         1.0