MIT Golf Bests NEWMAC OpponentsBy Robert Batten
This past Thursday MIT’s golf team finished third out of a large field of 24 teams from around New England. The Engineers shot a team score of 320, two shots more than second place Bryant College. UMass-Dartmouth won the tournament with a team score of 304. MIT bested all of its NEWMAC rivals including Babson, Springfileld and WPI.
Scoring for the Engineers was lead by Thomas L. Gray ’06 who tied for ninth overall, the best finish in his college golf career. Along with Gray’s score of 78, three other sophomores comprised the scoring for Tech. William J. Burke ’06 shot a solid round of 79, tied for 14th. Robert D. Batten ’06 rebounded from a disappointing finish last weekend to tie for 21st place with an 80. Matthew D. Smith ’06 shot 83, tied for 41st place. Fortunately, the disappointing 91 shot by junior team leader David H. Guttag ’05 did not count toward the scoring because the highest team score was dropped for scoring. There were 118 players in the field.
Gray said of his solid performance, “I just played the course, I didn’t let the course play me. My ball striking has improved remarkably this season, if I can only putt the ball a little better you can expect lower scores from me.”
This tournament marks MIT’s best team score in over ten years and the best tournament finish under third year coach and back to back NEWMAC Coach of the year James Burke. The team remains optimistic in the upcoming years as four of the five starters are sophomores. Said Batten of the team’s performance, “The sophomores are determined to make MIT golf a highly competitive program in New England and this tournament shows just what we are capable of doing. Hopefully this year’s freshmen can step up and fill the need for a solid fifth man, adding depth to our team.”
MIT’s great performance comes despite the difficult conditions of the course, Stow Acres Country Club, North Course. “The course is pretty lengthy and the wet fairways made it seem longer. Its a tight course and any wayward shots can get you into trouble really fast. With it being early in the season, the greens are slow and it’s hard to make putts,” said Guttag of the course.
The teams has performed solidly thus far this season as they suffered a narrow defeat to Williams College, a perennial NCAA Division III powerhouse during a match in Port St Lucie, Florida. At last weekend’s Yale Invitational, Guttag stepped up his play and complemented Burke, Gray, and Smith nicely as Tech golf dropped 75 shots from last year’s score at the same tournament. MIT golf looks to continue its strong scoring in a Greater Boston tournament on Monday.