After two weeks without competition, the men’s golf team returns to action this weekend at the Ivy League Championship in Metedecok, N.J.
The break, Andrew Vitt ’05 said, could not have come at a better time.
“We’ve been able to sit back and analyze what has gone wrong and what we need to work on,” he said.
Yale has been mired in a spring slump. Since capturing the title at Dartmouth in September, Yale has yet to finish atop the leaderboard. But the team is very optimistic about this weekend.
“We’re all playing pretty well, and the course is in good condition, so we’re pretty positive,” Vitt said. “Last year, the greens were smooth. We can expect to make 20-foot putts, which helps our guys, who have great short games.”
Yale has simply been unable to put two solid rounds together. At the Yale Spring Opener, the team shot a 309 in the first round, good enough for third place. But a 314 in the second round eliminated any chance of advancing in the standings. The next weekend, at the New England Championship, the team could not overcome a 310 in the first round and tied for sixth place overall.
“It’s been hard to get a consistent practice routine and keep the game in top shape,” Vitt said. “Because of the bad weather, we’ve only been practicing twice a week, instead of five.”
The team’s recent break has given it ample time to prepare for this weekend’s championship, where Yale’s main competition for the title should come from Princeton. The Tigers beat the Elis 309-312 at the George Washington Invitational, a rain-shortened event, in their only previous meeting this year.
“It was only one round, so we didn’t take it as a quality measure,” Vitt said. “But Princeton has a good squad. We’re going to have to play well.”
The stakes are high this weekend. Aside from a conference title and Ivy League pride, an automatic bid to the NCAA Eastern Regional tournament is on the line. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Yale has already secured a bid to the Auburn University-based competition May 15 to 17. But that does not mean the team will be trying any less this weekend.
“It is Ivy League, and that always means a higher level of intensity,” Vitt said. “Our main goal since the beginning of the season is to win Ivies.”