Men’s golf falls to Lehigh in hard-fought battle at Presidents’ Cup

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Sophomore Sean Saw reads his putt during the Presidents’ Cup. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The Lafayette men’s golf team ventured to Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J. on Tuesday to compete in the annual Presidents’ Cup. Despite their valiant effort against Patriot League rival Lehigh, the Leopards fell by a score of 12.5-7.5 in the match-play event. 

During the better-ball portion of the match, senior Martin Vanhaelst and sophomore Sean Saw came out on top with a 3-2 win. Saw went on to secure another win in the singles format with a 4-3 victory. 

“Me and [Vanhaelst] destroyed them in best ball, and when it came to alternate shot, on hole seven we gained momentum. We were one back, and they tied us when we thought we should’ve won,” Saw said. “We played well, but they got a good break at the right time, and the only thing we could’ve done was stay positive.”

Staying positive was not quite enough to get the job done, despite beating them by a significant margin in better ball. Saw and Vanhaelst could not keep Lehigh at bay in alternate shot, in which golfers compete in pairs, using one ball per team. 

Sophomore Michael Walsh and freshman Harry Dessel obtained a victory in the better ball portion by a score of one up. Walsh competed again in singles, splitting the match. Lehigh finished with a 3-2 lead at the conclusion of the better ball portion. 

In the alternate-shot competition, junior Carter Ablon and freshman Boyoung Chang prevailed with a 2-1 win. Sophomore Raymond Dennehy and senior Augie Beers managed a win, finishing 2 up. Lehigh captured another team victory in alternate shot with a final score of 3-2, extending their lead to 6-4 and advancing into singles play. 

Dennehy performed well throughout the match, racking up a win in singles 2-1. Sophomore Michael Bell had an explosive 6-5 win. However, the rest of the Maroon and White did not perform as well in singles and the Leopards could not come up victorious.

“I think we were a lot more prepared this year as opposed to last year in terms of strategy, and a lot of our best players faced their best player. Where we really lost strokes was our beginning groups, especially in singles,” Saw said. “We were betting on the fact that our less experienced players could pull through, and unfortunately it didn’t pan out like we hoped. While it was not necessarily a bad decision, our coach did take a risk in starting younger players at singles.”

The Leopards will look to put this loss in the past as they move on to the annual Lehigh Invitational this weekend, where they will once again face off against the Mountain Hawks and several other schools. The invitational will take place on Friday and Saturday at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem.

“I think even though we did lose, a lot of our guys felt good about their games, and, at Lehigh, can play to their strengths at a course we know well,” Saw said. “A lot of us can use the experience of playing at an arguably harder course going into Lehigh to get the goal we want, which is to beat Lehigh at their own event.”