The long, cold winter didn’t hurt the Yale men’s golf team.
After five months without tournament play, the Bulldogs took second place at the three-round George Washington Invitational in Bethany Beach, Del., with a score 0f 852 (-12), falling only to Missouri’s 820 (-44).
Thomas McCarthy ’11, captain Ben Wescoe ’10 and Brad Kushner ’13 finished in the top 10 individually. McCarthy finished in fourth place in the tournament with a 209 (-7) over the course of three rounds. After shooting a 75 (+3) in the second round of the tournament, McCarthy recovered in his final round of tournament play, with a 66 (-8), a score bested only by the individual winner of the tournament, Missouri’s Chris Johnson.
“[After the second round] I was fresh, a little upset and motivated to get things going and get off to a great start,” McCarthy said. “I was very good from tee to green. I struggled putting, but I was able to hit the ball close to the hole, and my wedge game was really good.”
Wescoe completed the tournament tied for fifth place with a 211 (-5), shooting rounds of 68 (-4), 75 (+3) and 70 (-2).
Kushner finished one stroke behind Wescoe at 212 (-4), shooting rounds of 70 (-2), 73 (+1) and 69 (-3).
Michael Fader ’11 and Brandon Marick ’11 also competed for the Bulldogs, and they tied for 22nd and 34th place, respectively. Fader shot a 220 (+4) and Marick shot a 226 (+10).
The Elis made Yale history on the par-72 course by scoring a 277 (-11) in the first round on Friday, the lowest-scoring round of golf in Yale men’s golf history.
“We caught everyone in the field and our coach by surprise,” Wescoe said. “We only had a week prior to the tournament in Florida playing and practicing everyday but there were great scoring conditions and very little wind.”
Wescoe attributed the first round’s play, as well as the strong performance in the tournament in general, to the team’s indoor practice during the winter. Wescoe said that the team used the indoor practice facility in Payne Whitney Gymnasium, which includes a simulator and putting green, almost everyday during the winter. He said the players also used the winter break to train individually.
Kushner said the weather also contributed to the team’s performance. He said the weather was 70 degrees and sunny, while the rain earlier in the week left the ground wet and the greens receptive.
“When you hit the ball on the green, it wouldn’t bounce away from the hole,” Kushner said.
Yale does not compete again until the Yale Spring Opener at Yale on April 3. The tournament consists of one day of play with 36 holes of golf. Head coach Colin Sheehan ’97 said that 36 holes involve over 10 miles of walking, and it is difficult to “stay mentally focused when a physical fatigue sets in.” As a result, he said the team will focus on conditioning over the next couple of weeks.
Wescoe said the team is hoping to defend the home turf in this tournament.
“[The George Washington Invitational] cannot be a more positive first step,” Sheehan said. “This is the type of event that can spring board the team to a very successful spring campaign.”