By John Bray
Records are meant to be broken, and the Kenyon men’s golf team took it to heart over this past weekend. The Lords participated in the Strimer Memorial Invitational hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University and finished 4th in a field of nine. The Lords might not have won the Invitational, but their performance was something to behold.
On the first day of competition the Lords posted an impressive score of 302. Alex Blickle ’15 and Jordan Harlacher ’16 scored a pair of 73s to lead the Lords after the first round.
The Lords entered the second day of competition with a chip on their shoulders, knowing that they had to play better. At the end of the round, the Lords tallied a team score of 294. This broke the program’s record for a single round. The previous mark was set in 1991 at 298. Leading the Lords was Jake Fait ’16 who hit a 69 (one under par).
Head Coach Grant Wallace knew that the Lords were approaching history, but he did not want that to affect his golfers. “I was just hoping they would stay consistent throughout the rest of their rounds, which they were,” he said. “The theme of the day was grinding. The team was grinding out every hole and making pars. If they made a bogey, they seemed to rebound on the next hole and get birdie.”
Any team would be proud of their single-round achievement, but the Lords were not done quite yet. When they combined their two round scores, the total came out to 596. This mark smashed a 48-year-old record of 603 set by the 1965 team.
The team has been posting noteworthy scores all season. They were thrilled to finally break the records, yet were not surprised by their performance. “That is a great feeling to take down records, especially one that has stood since 1965,” Wallace said. “However, it came as no surprise to us as a team. We know we have the capability to break the previous record every week because of our hard work and mindset towards competition.”
For now, the quartet of Blickle, Fait, Harlacher and Alexander Nethercutt ’16 will go down in the Kenyon record books.
Individually Blickle and Nethercutt finished within the top half of the field of competition, while Fait and Harlacher both placed within the top ten.
Harlacher has played consistently all season, with his most consistent performance coming this past weekend. He hit a 73 in both rounds en route to an 8th place finish.
Fait has been atop the leaderboards for many competitions in his short collegiate career, but tying for third was his best finish yet. Wallace believes that Fait’s low scores can be attributed to his hard work. “All season we have been working on his putting and confidence with trusting his line,” he said. “All the hard work is finally starting to show in his putting and he has been making some clutch putts lately.”
Fait was happy with his personal play, but was more concentrated on his team’s performance. “I thought I played great the second day. It feels great to have a new collegiate low, but it is truly insignificant compared to how our team played both days,” Fait said.
The Lords will travel to the College of Wooster Invitational next weekend where they will face another strong field of 16 teams. Wallace said the Lords’ goals for the weekend are “consistency and getting off to a good start. I preach to the team that getting a good streak of holes going is what we need. When you have a bad hole, regroup and get it going on the next hole. If we can get a good strong start on Saturday, there is no reason we shouldn’t be towards the top of the leader board on Sunday.”
All of the pieces have been coming together for the Lords recently. Here’s hoping next weekend their hard work and broken records will add up to an invitational trophy.
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