Second round woes doom men’s golf

In its final tournament of the fall season, the men’s golf team finished 13th Monday at the Prestige at the La Quinta Mountain Course in La Quinta, Calif.

The Bulldogs finished with a flourish, shooting 291 in the final round to cap the two-day, three-round tournament.

“It was good to finish on a positive note,” captain Neel Williams ’03 said.

Williams was 2-over par with a three-round score of 218, good for a team-best 15th in the individual standings. Steve Gray ’05 was 28th with a 222, followed by Brian Kim ’06 at 230, Alex Fulton ’04 at 232, and Andrew Vitt ’05 at 248. At the Prestige, each team’s four lowest scores after every round count toward the team’s total score.

Only three teams in the field of 18 carded better final-round scores than Yale, which ended the tournament 38-over with a cumulative score of 902. The Bulldogs shot a 298 in the first round and a 313 in the second.

“That really screwed us up,” Williams said of the team’s second-round score.

The Bulldogs could have finished in the top five at the Prestige if not for their second-round score.

No. 6 Texas Christian University dominated the Prestige, leading wire-to-wire and finishing under par in each of the three rounds to record an 11-under score of 853. UC-Irvine was a distant second at 4-over and 15 shots back. No. 21 Pepperdine and No. 11 UCLA rounded out the top four.

Gray attributed the second-round drop-off to fatigue.

“You’re just kind of grinding the whole time,” Gray said.

The team played from sunup to sundown Monday, hitting the greens from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Gray said playing two rounds in one day gave way to mental lapses.

“You just slip up every once in a while,” he said.

Teams were scheduled to play the first two rounds Monday in their entirety, but the final few holes of the second round were postponed because of darkness. Second round play resumed at 7 a.m. Tuesday, followed by the third round. Because of the postponement, the Bulldogs had to wake up both days at 5 a.m. and then caught a red-eye flight back to New Haven last night.

“That threw everyone off,” Alex Fulton ’04 said.

But as evidenced by Yale’s strong first and third-round play, the Elis were never too far removed from their top form.

Williams recorded an eagle on his first-round scorecard, while Gray’s 15 birdies were the most he has ever made in one tournament.

“It’s definitely a good feeling,” Gray said. “It’s nice to have a lot of players in the mix, so we can get our best five out there every time.”

Players thoroughly enjoyed the California weather as well.

“The weather was perfect,” Fulton said. “It was a nice break.”

The Bulldogs’ break continues for four months from now until after spring break, when their spring season begins. Gray and Fulton both said they would be spending time in the weight room and on the driving range, but that the weather would prevent any rigorous practice.

“It’s a low-key part of the year,” Gray said.

Fulton said the team definitely has things to work on for the spring, but he was satisfied with the way the fall season ended.

“It’s a good way to go out,” Fulton said.

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