With a six over round of 78, first seed Alexa Tsay ’17 led Andover Golf to a fourth-place finish out of eight teams at the Andover Invitational on Saturday. Combined with a 12-0 win over St. Mark’s last Friday, Andover continues its strong start to the season with a 5-1-1 record.
The team traveled to the prestigious Newport Country Club in Rhode Island to host the annual Andover Invitational on Saturday. The course is filled with rich history, as it held both the first U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur Championship in 1895 and was one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association.
Andover placed fourth ahead of Deerfield, Tabor, Hotchkiss, and Salisbury. The team finished behind Phillips Exeter Academy, Taft, and Loomis. Exeter had a very strong performance, breaking the all-time record for the event by one stroke with a combined score of 298; Deerfield set the previous record at 299 in 2013.
The weather was mild and less windy than in past years, which allowed for strong scores from the team. Co-Captains Pranav Tadikonda ’16 and Peter Hahn ’16 posted scores of 81 and 85, respectively. Chelsea Liu ’16 and John Witt ’18 both shot rounds of 82.
Tadikonda said, “The course conditions were near perfect and we really lucked out with the weather. Sometimes, it can get kind of raw out on the course, but we didn’t really have to worry about the temperature or precipitation this year.”
The pristine course, however, gave the team great difficulties, as it featured undulating greens, deep greenside bunkers, and tall rough.
“Every player felt like they left a few shots out there,” said Hahn. “Having said that, I think we all grinded out the scores that we did, avoiding big mistakes and staying optimistic when things were not going our way.”
Tadikonda said, “Newport is a course where you always feel like you’re battling the course for 18 full holes. Whether it’s the wind or the quick greens or course design, you need to be focused and completely present for the entire round.”
“The greens were very firm, so they didn’t receive approach shots very well,” said Hahn.
Despite solid scores, the team still sees room for improvement and looks forward to the event next year.
“The Andover Invitational is always a great event: eight strong schools competing on the nicest course of the season. While the team didn’t place as high as we’d hoped, I think that we showed consistency and posted some respectable scores,” Tsay said. “Hopefully next year we can try to overcome some of the teams that beat us.”
Last Friday, Andover swept St. Mark’s in a dominant fashion at Indian Ridge Country Club, its home course. Led by newcomer Harry Choi ’18, who posted a score of 36 and contributed a 5&4 victory, all eight team members won their individual matches. Andover also displayed impressive teamwork, securing all four best-ball match victories.
Tadikonda said, “I think everyone had a good week of practice leading up to the Friday match and came out firing on all cylinders early on to get some of the matches over with before the final holes.”
Hahn said, “Obviously when you beat a team by a wide margin, it’s a huge confidence booster. I think we all went into our matches with confidence, and that translated to strong performances. We also had home course advantage for the St. Mark’s match, which is no small deal.”
Andover hopes to continue its success against Dexter Southfield on Friday and against Deerfield, one of its strongest competitors, on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Alexa Tsay is Executive Editor of The Phillipian.