GOLF | Elis at Ivy Champs

Saving the best for last is usually a rewarding strategy, but that was not the case for the Yale men’s golf team this weekend.

Although the men’s team shot the best round of the day, their performance on Sunday was only enough for them to move from a fifth to a fourth-place finish in the Ivy League Championship, which was held in New Jersey at the Atlantic City Country Club from Friday to Sunday. The women’s squad finished second in the Ivy Championship, a position they found themselves in at the end of each of the three days of competition.

After shooting a 283 (+3) in the final round, the men were able to pass Princeton, who finished with a 292 (+12) for the day. Yale’s performance also narrowed the leaders’ margin for the Bulldogs, cutting down a 12-stroke lead after Saturday to just an eight stroke lead.

Much of the credit for Yale’s run lies with Taylor Hakes ’09, who was playing the last round of his college career. While the rest of the Bulldogs finished their day with a score that was at most one shot different from their second round score, Hakes — who had shot a mediocre 76 (+6) each of the first two rounds — improved his score by seven strokes.

After opening his final round with a bogey, Hakes went on to shoot two birdies and 15 pars, giving him a 69 (-1) for the day.

“I didn’t change much from the first two rounds,” Hakes said. “I just got luckier, as my putts started going in.”

Finishing just eight strokes behind champion Columbia while ending a full six strokes ahead of fifth-place Princeton, the Bulldogs solidified the fact that they belonged in the upper half of the eight-team Ivy League. The Elis, however, had higher hopes than a fourth-place finish.

“We expected that we were going to win the tournament. It was kind of out of our hands in the last round, but we’re still sad that we didn’t win,” Hakes said.

The Bulldogs should feel satisfied with the performances of Tom McCarthy ’11 and Ben Wescoe ’10, whose respective scores of 212 (+2) and 213 (+3) meant that they finished tied for third and fifth individually in the tournament.

The Elis opened play on Friday with a solid score of 292 (+12), placing them in third place, just one shot behind second-place Columbia. Yale’s second round was one stroke better, but four of the other teams took advantage of Saturday’s good weather and finished with scores that were all at least five strokes better than the Bulldogs’ scores, leaving the Bulldogs in fifth place with only a slim chance to take the lead.

With three of the five Bulldogs who were sent to play in the Championships returning, Yale looks to bring another strong team to the course next year. For Hakes, though, it is the end of the line.

“[Playing for Yale] has been a really great experience,” Hakes said. “I’m going to miss the guys and the golf trips that we go on together.”

The women’s team opened the tournament just two shots behind the leading Crimson squad after the first round. But the Bulldogs had a rocky start and saw Princeton close on their heels, just two shots behind.

In the second day of competition the women again fell short on their run to top the Crimson. They finished the day eight behind the leading Harvard squad with Princeton trailing by just one.

Captain Natasha Spackey ’09 and Alyssa Roland ’10 led the Elis with scores of 74 (+2). Roland sunk a long birdie putt during her round.

The Elis finished the weekend two strokes behind the Crimson with a total score of 906, good enough for second in the Ivy Championship. Harriet Owers-Bradley ’11 finished second in the individual competition, just five strokes behind Princeton’s Susannah Aboff, after coming back from a 10th-place finish in the opening round.

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