Men's golf finishes seventh at Yale invite

by Jordan Rose | 10/12/05 5:00am

The Dartmouth men's golf team battled a scoring controversy and a torrential downpour this weekend at The Course at New Haven for the annual Yale Macdonald Cup. Coming off a notable second-place finish at the ECAC Championship, the Big Green finished a satisfying seventh out of a field of 20 teams, shooting a strong total two-round score of 589 for the Macdonald Cup.

However, before that score could be posted, there was some question as to what Dartmouth's score should really be. According to coach Rich Parker and several team members, the dispute was in reference to when Jamie Wallace '08 putted from 60-feet away on the green and his ball collided with the ball of one of his playing partners. Wallace stated that his partner was a "long way" behind the playing group, so Wallace hit to help speed up play, not anticipating such an errant putt.

Wallace realized that his putt was illegal, and he and his playing group agreed that the infraction required Wallace to incur a one-stroke penalty on his scorecard for the hole. However, Rule 19-5 in the USGA's "The Rules of Golf" states that when a ball is deflected by another ball in stroke play, "there is no penalty unless both balls lay on the putting green prior to the stroke, in which case the player incurs a penalty of two strokes."

Because the error was not caught, Wallace signed an incorrect scorecard at the completion of the round, which should result in disqualification of the score. The infraction would have resulted in the sixth score of 83 moving up to become the fifth and final score for the team, and the overall team stroke count would have increased to put the Big Green in 11th place for the Cup. Wallace commented, "I should have looked up the rule in a rules book." Parker, a 40-year veteran of the game, also displayed his frustration with the situation, saying, "I should have known the rule."

According to the official score sheet posted on the Yale Athletics website after the match, which did include the penalty mishap in its scoring, Wallace paced the team with an impressive total of 141 strokes, good enough for a very impressive fifth place finish individually at the Cup, improving from his first-round 73 to post a final round 68. Matt Uretsky '07 and Alex Abate '09 each shot 150, while co-captains Kenan Yount '06 and Chaki Kobayashi '06 filled in the last two spots for the team with scores of 151 and 156, respectively.

The Big Green finished nine strokes behind first-place Penn, which shot a 580 for the tournament. Binghamton (581) and Rhode Island (582) rounded out the top three. Dustin Wetherup of Hartford took the individual title with two sensational rounds of 67, totaling 134 for the Cup. Kobayashi, commenting on the competition, said this was the "strongest field we played against all year."

The conclusion of first-round play on Saturday was postponed until Sunday morning due to miserably wet conditions that continued throughout the day. "All of us were totally soaked as if we had jumped into a pool," Kobayashi said. The tournament concluded Sunday afternoon.

Rule infractions aside, Parker expressed satisfaction with his team's play at New Haven. "We could care less," he said. "I'm excited about where we're heading." Coach Parker cited a more than 40-stroke improvement from last year's effort, and the team's new sense of confidence.

The Big Green will attempt to make good on their coach's praise when they wrap up their fall schedule at the New England Championships next weekend, Oct. 17-18, at the Captain's Course in Brewster, Mass.

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