The men’s golf team had a number of disadvantages this past weekend, when it took part in the fall Liberty League Golf Championships, which were hosted by Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.
For one, the team was without sophomore Nick Palladino, their perennial top player and a frontrunner entering the Championships.
The ‘Jackets faced several imposing foes, including the Skidmore Thoroughbreds, a deep and talented group of veterans ranked No. 15 in the nation.
After the first day of competition, the Yellowjackets found themselves not quite where they had hoped, sitting in fourth place out of seven with a disappointing 313 strokes — a daunting 22 strokes behind Skidmore and five strokes behind Clarkson, whom UR expected to be ahead of at this point in the competition.
Yet, instead of panicking about the prospect of losing their national stature (UR was ranked No. 24 after the Spring 2011 season) or pitying their poor first-day performance, the ‘Jackets chose instead to turn the weekend around, surging past Clarkson on day two. The ‘Jackets shaved ten strokes off their first day total to shoot a 303, giving them an overall total of 616 strokes for the weekend. Clarkson finished fourth with 623 strokes, while Skidmore (583) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (596) claimed the first and second spots, respectively.
These first four teams, all of whom beat out St. Lawrence University (625), Hobart College (627) and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (783), will return to compete in the 2012 Spring Liberty League Championships. The team winner at the Spring event will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships, which will be in Greensboro, N.C.
Four of five Yellowjackets shot lower scores on day two to ensure their team’s rebound. Senior Michael Chudacoff shot a 77 on day one and then followed with a 74-stroke performance on day two to finish with 151 strokes — good enough for a share of 10th place and tops among the UR representation.
Sophomore Rafael Baez had the greatest improvement between the days, knocking five strokes off of his first-day total (79) on day two (74) to finish with 153 strokes and 13th overall. Sophomore William Malia (155), junior Marc Youngentob (157) and senior David Wien (172) completed the scoring for UR.
Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.