Deng Leads Harvard Men's Golf to Fourth-Place Finish at Temple Invitational

Deng Leads Harvard Men's Golf to Fourth-Place Finish at Temple Invitational

Robert Deng and the Crimson will close out its fall schedule at the Ivy Match Play Oct. 19-20 (Harvard Athletic Communications).

By Un Cho '16

The Harvard men's golf team last competed September 21 and 22 so were ready to tee it up at the Temple Invitational in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.

After a long drive to Philadelphia Thursday night, the team awoke to a rainy, chilly day. Nevertheless, team members were eager to play their practice round on the North course at Philmont Country Club and discover what challenges awaited them for the weekend. Heavy rainfall and thunder limited play to 3 holes before the course was deemed unplayable.

The team showed resiliency in spite of the rain, exemplified by their wish to keep playing, but the horn blew and everyone was forced off the course. After the stormed passed, the team decided that walking the course would be the best course of action. Although relatively short at 6600 yards, the Crimson soon discovered that Philmont provided plenty of challenge including a few par fours that measured over 470 yards.  Given the wet conditions and challenging course, the team knew they would have to stay committed and concentrate on process. The Crimson took advantage of the opportunity to study the course thoroughly with Coach Rhoads and Assistant coach Daniel Joseph facilitating the discussions on strategy.  Since the traveling team consisted of three freshmen and two sophomores none of whom had seen the course, effective use of the practice round was important.

For the tournament start on Saturday morning the course was still wet from Friday's relentless storm but no more rain was forecast.  The soft greens improved scoring conditions for those who controlled their process. Freshman Daniel De La Garza '17 led the day's charge with an impressive 1-under score of 69, which included a strong back nine of 4 birdies. Close behind were Robert Deng '17 and Un Cho '17 who both fired rounds of 72.  Rohan Ramnath '16 and Kendrick Vinar '17 were both only a shot behind with rounds of 73's. The team's consistent fine play put the Crimson in contention for the title after the first round in a tie for second with Temple.

The excitement of being in contention and only four strokes off the lead meant that the Crimson would have to show an even stronger commitment to process in Sunday's second and final round.

Sunday provided sunny weather with mild temperatures for a second consecutive day but significantly stronger winds. Many of the tees were moved back compared to Saturday's setup and the pin positions were more tactically placed, making the course more demanding.

In spite of the tricky conditions, Deng was able to shoot a fine round of 71 placing him at tied for sixth individually. To follow Saturday's spectacular round of 69, De La Garza fired a 75 and earned a top ten finish for the tournament.  Vinar  was able to put together a 74 while Cho and Ramnath both shots rounds of 76 to cap the day. The completion of Sunday's round placed the team at a tie for fourth overall in the tournament with an aggregate score of 582 for the 36-hole competition.

The Crimson took a step forward at this week's tournament toward their process goals.  While change is never easy, the Harvard men's golf team sincerely believes that our strong resolve to become 100% process oriented will prove to be worthwhile in the long run. The team made significant strides toward keeping their emotions in check while battling the course at the Temple invitational. 

The team feels confident heading into the fall season-ending Ivy League Match play.  The Crimson's depth will be an asset with each team playing seven players and everyone is excited to test their games in a match-play format.