After striking her first two shots well on the first hole, a par five, Alexa Tsay ’17 positioned herself close to the green for a 20-yard chip that hopped into the hole. Her eagle earned her a victory on the hole and set the tone for Andover Golf’s comfortable 9-3 victory over Tabor on Saturday.
After her strong start, Tsay went on to gain a lead of six-up through nine holes. She and her partner, Co-Captain Pranav Tadikonda ’16, both won their matches 6&5 at the number one and two spots, respectively.
Tsay said, “Getting an early lead on my opponent was really helpful because it relieved the pressure going into the back nine. This was especially important because by the time we started the back nine, the temperature had dropped considerably and wind was starting to pick up, so it was harder to play well.”
Ryan Simard ’16 said, “As for the weather, the wind didn’t really play an effect until about the tenth hole. At that point the wind really started to pick up, and then it got pretty hard to place some shots.”
The match took place on Tabor’s home course, the challenging and demanding Kittansett Club, which was ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the United States by Golf Digest. The stunning oceanside course in Marion, Mass., featured stiff winds, fast greens, and tight fairways that caused some difficulties for both teams.
Tsay said, “I took a conservative approach to my putts because the greens were really fast compared to what we’re used to, and this definitely helped me win my match, because even the players on the Tabor team who practice at Kittansett were blowing some of their putts past the hole.”
Despite the unfavorable conditions and difficulty of the course, the entire team succeeded, winning all but one of its best ball matches. The overall victory included individual wins from Post-Graduate Billy Stahley ’16 and John Witt ’18, two newcomers to the team.
Witt dominated his first career match for Andover, playing with consistency and defeating his opponent 6&5.
Andover also squared off against Phillips Exeter Academy and Governor’s on Wednesday, in the first leg of competition for the Lovell and Witherspoon Cups. The team was not at its best against steep competition, losing 5-2 in match play against Exeter, which had three players shooting under 80. Co-Captain Peter Hahn ’16 and Witt were the lone bright spots for Andover, as they both pulled out individual match-play victories.
Tadikonda also performed well, but he played against an opponent who drilled four birdies in the opening holes. Despite falling behind early, Tadikonda stuck with his experienced opponent and was able to force the match to sixteen holes before losing. Tadikonda, however, hopes for improvement and looks forward to the next tri-match.
Hahn said, “The Exeter loss was a tough result to swallow because we know we could have played better. Having said that, I know that we’ll be a better team by the time we next see them, and it could be a different ending.”
Andover hopes to bounce back against Holderness this Wednesday.
Editor’s Note: Alexa Tsay is the Executive Editor for The Phillipian.