Going into the final round of the Ivy League Championship, the men’s golf team was facing a second consecutive second place finish. But on Sunday, the team played to their potential and decisively captured the Ivy title.
After a dominant third round performance, the team finished twenty strokes ahead of second place Columbia at Galloway National golf course. It was the team’s first Ivy title since 2003.
On Sunday captain Thomas McCarthy ’11 took control, shooting an incredible -3 on the first 15 holes, and moving from sixth to first place. Two bogies would drop him to second before he would finish, but it still ranked as one of the most impressive single-day performances of the season.
“After three years of heartbreak … I was going to do anything possible to win,” McCarthy said, referring to the team’s seasonal “tradition” of coming in second in the Ivy Championship. He discussed how the team had been disappointed in themselves after the second day, when they ended one stroke behind Penn. That night’s dinner, when the team gathered with their parents along with current and past coaches, the team had a chance to gather themselves.
“The stories that were told, reminiscing about the season — it motivated us,” Jeffrey Hatten ’12 said. “Hearing the parents’ excitement, in whether we won or lost, was a big motivation.”
Hatten shot +2 the final round to tie at fourth with teammate Bradley Kushner ’13. Sam Bernstein ’14 rounded out the group scoring +1 on Sunday, moving into ninth, to complete the commanding team performance. Coach Colin Sheehan ’97 emphasized that the victory was the result of a team effort. He also acknowledged the efforts of his predecessor, David Patterson.
“I want to dedicate this championship to coach David Patterson, three of the five golfers today were recruited by him,” Sheehan said. “Having come close to [winning an Ivy Championship] only made us even more motivated.”
McCarthy, who was the only Yale golfer to have previously played on the course, said that he had advised the team beforehand of Galloway’s challenges.
“It’s a hard course, you always have to be thinking one or two shots ahead,” McCarthy said. “It takes the most strategy out of any course I’ve ever played.”
The team will advance to the NCAA Regionals from May 19–21, where they will try to continue their championship level of play. McCarthy said that yesterday on the Galloway course, they played “as well as any team in the country could have expected to play.”
For Bernstein, the success was nothing out of the ordinary.
“We’re all capable of playing really well,” he said. “We have tons of talent … these were our expectations. We could’ve done better. We could’ve brought [our score] even lower.”
Hatten says everyone on the team has this fierce competitiveness, and will bring it to regionals with the goal of getting to nationals.
“We have a big underdog mentality going into this,” he said. “We stacked up with the best of them today … We can get whatever we put our minds to.”
The Bulldogs will find out on May 9 which of the six regional tournaments they will be assigned to.