Golf struggles at Ivy Champs

Despite a flurry of team and individual accolades, both the men’s and women’s golf squads left the Garden State wanting more.

The Yale men finished fourth and the women third in the Ivy League Championships, both held in New Jersey this weekend. Both teams expressed disappointment about their performances, despite a fourth all-Ivy individual nod for senior Cindy Shin and a field-best final-day score of 308 for the men. Penn took the men’s tournament with a three-round total of 904 at the Ballyowen Golf Course in Galloway, N.J., while Columbia, with a score of 933, won the women’s bracket in McAfee and became the first-ever Ivy other than Yale or Princeton to take a league title.

Erica Im ’09, who placed 21st with a score of 252 in her first Ivy Championship appearance, expressed frustration that most of her teammates shared.

“I definitely wanted to perform my best and win one for the team, but I was struggling a lot with my driver,” she said. “I was thinking a little too much about my swing and about how to make it look good.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams entered the tournament with high expectations, considering impressive spring records and Yale’s historically strong performances. But team members knew they would be facing the best the Ancient Eight had to offer in the final league tournament of the season.

“We knew it would be competitive,” Corey Lomas ’07 said. “We did well all spring, but all the favorites were there.”

Despite the frustration, the tournaments were not without their highlights.

The Class of 2009 led the way for the men in pleasant conditions on the Jersey Shore. Colby Moore ’09 shot the best game of any golfer in the field on Sunday with a score of 71 and finished with a total of 225 — good enough for seventh place. His teammate and fellow sophomore Taylor Hakes finished ninth overall, only two shots behind him.

After claiming the title in 2005 and taking second overall last year, Shin logged in a fourth-place performance this weekend. Her teammates also put up a strong fight. Natasha Spackey ’09 had one of her best performances of the year with a score of 241. Lindsay Hong ’08 tied for 11th with a score of 242, and Ellie Brophy, a fellow junior, shot 243 and tied for 13th. The team had its best day on Saturday, as its second-round score of 303 was the lowest for any individual round in the tournament.

The biggest obstacle for the women may have been the course at the Great Gorge Country Club.

“The greens were in bad conditions, and we just didn’t adjust quickly enough,” Hong said.

Although an NCAA regional bid is still a distinct possibility, Andrew Denenberg ’08 said, the men are beginning to look to 2007-’08 — but not before looking back at the stellar career of captain Mark Matza ’07, who finished tied for 31st with a 242.

“This will definitely serve as a stepping-stone for next year,” Denenberg said. “But this was really a celebration of Mark’s contribution as captain.”

The women, also awaiting news about possible postseason play, saw the weekend as a chance to size up the competition and to figure out what aspects of their game need the most work.

“This tournament was a reality check,” Im said. “We will certainly be motivated to practice harder over the summer, especially on our short game.”

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