HANOVER, N.H. — Following a challenging spring schedule that was played mostly in the Carolinas, the Dartmouth men’s golf team will wrap up its season this weekend at the Ivy League Championship, beginning Friday at Stonewall in Elverson, Pennsylvania.
Last year, the Big Green finished sixth at the championship, but the year prior was second, just four strokes behind Harvard for the league title. Rich Parker, the Bill Johnson Head Coach of Men’s Golf, certainly sees his young team as having the talent to compete near the top of the standings once again, despite Dartmouth ranking sixth in the league in average score relative to par (+13.55).
“Everyone we are taking to Stonewall has the shown the ability to put together extremely competitive rounds against top-notch talent on terrific courses,” Parker said. “The challenge is to be able to be consistent over all three rounds and repeat those performances from day-to-day. I am really looking forward to seeing what our guys can do on this course.”
Dartmouth is taking three freshmen, a sophomore and senior captain Ian Kelsey to the championship, giving the Big Green the youngest squad at the tournament. Kelsey has been the Big Green’s most consistent golfer all season having not had a single round worse than 79. At the end of March, he won medalist honors at the Cornell Spring Invitational in Jupiter, Florida, firing a four-under 140 with identical 70s in each of the two rounds. A first-team All-Ivy League golfer two years ago by virtue of his second-place finish at the championship, Kelsey is second on the team in stroke average (74.23) with Dartmouth’s best round of the year — a four-under 66 last October in Camden, South Carolina.
It is a freshman, Jason Liu, who owns the Big Green’s lowest stroke average (74.18, just one overall stroke better than Kelsey over 22 rounds). The rookie finished in the top quarter of the field in three tournaments this year with a low round of 68 (-2) last October at Yale where he tied for ninth in the 81-player field.
The other two freshmen are James Turner (74.5 stroke average) and Sam Ohno (77.0) with the former carding a 76 or lower in 18 of his 22 rounds this year with three top-15 finishes. Ohno, meanwhile, has had some strong showings of late, notably taking third at the Cornell Spring Invitational and shooting even par in the first round at the Irish Creek Intercollegiate two weeks ago.
Sophomore Will Bednarz rounds out the team with a 76.94 stroke average. A notorious strong starter, Dartmouth needs Bednarz to maintain his performance into the later rounds to help the squad challenge for its third Ivy League crown (first awarded in 1975) and first since 1983.
Harvard is the two-time defending champion, but Yale is the favorite going into the tournament with the league’s best score relative to par per round at +4.22 with Cornell second (+6.29) and the Crimson third (+8.71).