Golfers shake rust off their clubs in South

Nothing like some 70-degree weather to warm up the Yale golf teams for the 2007 season.

At the University of Cincinnati Spring Invitational in Crystal River, Fla. this past weekend, the women’s team tied for sixth place with a score of 650. Members of the men’s team started their break play at the Liberty University Spring Invitational before making their way back north for the George Washington Golf Invitational, taking 10th and fourth, respectively.

At the women’s Spring Invitational, Florida Atlantic University won the tournament with a combined score of 620 for the weekend.

The Bulldogs’ two lowest scorers were Ellie Brophy ’08 (80-82-162) and Lindsay Hong ’08 (81-81-162), who tied for 22nd place. Captain Cindy Shin ’07 came back from a score of 84 on the first day with a team-best 79 on the second day, and she tied for 25th place with 163. Competing as an individual, Erica Im ’09 tied for 32nd overall with a score of 165.

In a different southern state, the men’s team finished 10th in a field of 13 highly competitive teams and had a mediocre final score of 31 over par (301-306-607). The Armstrong Atlantic, a strong Division II team, shot a 574 to win the tournament.

“We didn’t play as well as we would have liked because we were coming right out of the winter months and were as rusty as an old nail,” Colby Moore ’09 said. “It was the first time we had been on a golf course in four months because we have been practicing indoors all winter.”

Yale’s top golfer in the two-day event was Ben Wescoe ’10, who tied for 11th place overall and scored a 73 on the first day and 74 on the second to total 147. Placing next for the Elis was Joe Hernandez ’08 in 32nd place (75-78-153). Captain Mark Matza ’07, Moore and Taylor Hakes ’09 all tied for 40th and shot a 156.

“Ben played really well,” Moore said. “He was the low man for the team and did especially well for not playing for so long.”

After the competition in Savannah, the team ventured even further south and played alongside Yale alumni at Plantation Country Club in Jacksonville. The team also played at Reunion Resort in Orlando and was hosted one day by Bob Heintz, a former Yale golfer who now plays in the PGA tour. Teammates said they learned some valuable lessons from him.

To their dismay, the golfers had to leave the hot, sunny climate and head back up to Delaware for the George Washington Golf Invitational last weekend.

The Bulldogs competed at the par-72 Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club and tied for fourth overall (294-303-597). For the second year in a row, Ivy League rival Penn won the tournament with 585. The Yale team has found success in the past at this tournament, including a first-place finish in 2002.

“The weather was really cold and windy, but the team fared okay,” Matza said. “We did pretty well considering there were 23 teams, but we definitely could have done better.”

The Elis’ top finisher of the weekend was Matza, who placed second by one stroke with a score of 71 on both Saturday and Sunday.

“Mark was the only guy to go under par,” Seve Gonzales ’10 said. “It was a freezing cold and really windy day, so Mark is a stud.”

Other low scorers for Yale include Hakes, who tied for 24th place (74-76-150), Moore, who tied for 28th place (74-77-151), and Wescoe, who tied for 41st (75-79-154). Hernandez shot a 75 on the first day but was forced to withdraw on the second due to injury.

With tournaments coming up in Maryland and Virginia, the Yale golfers might lose their nice Florida tans, but hopefully they can use the practice they got over spring break to continue playing well against tough competition.

“The course isn’t open yet, so it’s really up in the air how we are going to prepare for this weekend, but we are confident that our team is good,” Matza said.

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