After surveying his 45-foot par putt on the second hole, Co-Captain Pranav Tadikonda ’16 hit an aggressive putt to counter the slow speeds of the wet green. His ball slammed into the back of the hole, popped out of the cup, and, after a moment of suspense while it sat on the lip, the ball proceeded to drop back in to win the hole.
Tadikonda’s lucky roll put him two up after two holes. After this strong start, he went on to lead Andover Golf to an 8-1 rout against Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) last weekend. This was the first match in years between the two teams.
Tadikonda beat his opponent seven to six, while shooting a career-low 71. After a strong start, he took a lead and locked a victory.
Tadikonda said, “The key for me was jumping out ahead of my opponent early on, because then I felt like I was swinging more freely and was a lot more comfortable with both my full swing and short game.”
Head Coach Brian Faulk ’00 said, “Pranav clearly conquered the weather, firing the first subpar round in sometime for us. His one-under par round was highlighted with four birdies, including one on the notoriously difficult third hole. It was a tour de force.”
The whole team got off to a strong start to the season. Post-Graduate Chelsea Liu ’16 won her first match playing for Andover, while Ryan Simard ’16 also earned his first career victory. Co-Captain Peter Hahn ’16 and David Todd ’16 both won their matches as well.
Hahn said, “We won all of our best-ball matches, which shows that we are working together out on the course.”
“As for me individually, I tried to make as few mistakes as possible, and played pretty conservatively. I knew I had better course knowledge and maybe a bit of a skill advantage over my opponent, so I felt confident that I could outlast him over the course of 18 holes,” he continued.
The match was played at the team’s home course, Indian Ridge Country Club, which gave Andover an advantage.
Simard said, “I think that having home course advantage proved extremely helpful as we were able to go out on a course [where] we play every single day for practice.”
The team was forced to battle the rain throughout the first few holes. Although wet conditions usually pose a challenge for most golfers, Tadikonda, however, benefitted from the weather.
Tadikonda said, “The wet conditions also really allowed me to take dead aim at some of the pins and be more aggressive on some of my putts throughout the day – the rain actually ended up serving me really well.”
The decisive win will give Andover momentum heading into future matches.
Due to the inclement weather, the team’s match against Governor’s and Phillips Exeter Academy in the first leg of competition for the Lovell and Witherspoon Cups has been postponed. The team will use the extra days of practice to prepare for an away match at Tabor this weekend.