After decades of coming up short in the Macdonald Cup — Yale’s home tournament — the men’s golf team gained its second win in the tournament’s 35 year history Sunday.
The Macdonald Cup began in 1976, but Yale’s team did not clinch a victory until 2009. Over the past five years, the team threatened to take the tournament and placed second in 2007, 2008 and 2010. This year, Captain Jeff Hatten ’12, Brad Kushner ’13 and Sam Bernstein ’14 led the team to a five-stroke victory over 12 other schools.
“It is a great feeling winning the Macdonald Cup at our home golf course,” Hatten said. “This was the second time in the tournament’s 35 year history that Yale won, the first being two years ago. So it was special.”
Hatten, Kushner and Bernstein played impressively during the first round of 18 holes and all tied for fifth place after day one of the tournament. They each scored a solid 69 (-1) in the first round, and the team finished even par (280) on the first day.
Sitting at the top of the leader board after the first day, the team however did not lose sight of its ultimate goal.
“Yes, there is certainly added pressure being in the lead overnight,” Hatten said. “But we just went out and tried to shoot the lowest score we could on the final day, and it worked out for us.”
Because it was raining Saturday, the second round of 18 holes was cancelled, but the team held on to the lead during the 18 holes Sunday and finished at 565 (+5). The Bulldogs defeated their interleague rivals Princeton and Dartmouth by five and seven strokes respectively.
Bernstein led the Elis with a final round of 68 (-2) and finished the tournament three under, just one stroke behind tournament winner Peter Williamson of Dartmouth. Kushner finished at even par overall and tied for fourth place, and Hatten finished seven over. In his first home tournament, William Davenport ’15 shot +4 overall for 16th place.
“We are all playing great golf right now,” Kushner said. “We all played solid golf and were able to limit our mistakes.”
Kushner added that the team had a productive week of practice leading up to the game, and that the home course advantage helped them take the title.
Although the women’s team did not win this weekend at the the Nittany Lion Invitational, the team also played well under difficult weather conditions. Facing strong competition in a field of 15 teams, the Bulldogs finished tied with Harvard for ninth place (624), and Eastern Michigan won the tournament with an overall score of 597.
Alex Lipa ’13 and Seo Hee Moon ’14 led the team, each with a score of 154 and tied for 27th overall.
“I thought the team did very well, considering the conditions out there, between the rain and extreme temperatures,” Lipa said. “We all pulled it together and played great.”
The third day of competition was eventually cancelled due to the deluge of rain and snow that flooded greens and fairways. Lipa said she thought the team could have placed higher in the rankings if it had been able to play the last round of 18 holes.
“It is difficult to keep focused when rain and snow is pouring down on you for five hours,” Lipa said. “I was hoping to play the last day to boost my score, but the snow got in the way.”
The men’s and women’s teams each have only two more tournaments in their fall seasons. The men’s team is competing at The Big Five Golf Invitational starting on Oct. 8 at the Plymouth Country Club in Philadelphia, Pa., while the women’s team will travel to Greenville, N.C. on Oct. 9 for the East Carolina Invitational.