The Yale men’s and women’s golf teams closed their fall seasons this past weekend with fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively. Difficult final days of play for both teams landed them both in the middle of the pack.
The men’s team competed in the Ivy League Matchplay Tournament, held this year at TPC Jasna Polana at Princeton. The format was different from the Elis’ other tournaments this fall as each golfer faced off against a single opponent to try to win as many holes as possible; play continues until one opponent is up by more holes than are left in the round.
“[In match play], making a big number on one hole is less of a problem than it is in stroke play. Match play naturally leads to more aggressive play,” team captain Bradley Kushner ’13 said. “It is a fun tournament and allows you to try some shots that one would not normally be able to try.”
In the opening round on Saturday, the Bulldogs faced a composite team featuring golfers from several Ivy League schools. Wins from Sam Bernstein ’14, Kushner and Joe Willis ’16 secured the 3-2 win for the Elis.
Following the opening-round win, Yale took to the course against Dartmouth. Wins from Bernstein and Willis were not enough to overcome the Dartmouth Big Green, and Yale fell 2-3.
The loss sent the Elis into a semifinal against Brown on Sunday in the final round of the tournament. Bernstein and Willis once again notched individual victories, dominating with perfect 3-0 records for the weekend. Aided by two one-up victories, Brown was able to hang on for the 3-2 win, handing the Elis a fourth place finish among the Ivy teams.
Willis said that the he has faced a rapid adjustment to college play as a freshman playing in his first collegiate season.
“The rhythm of a college tournament is pretty different from high school, so these first few have helped me adapt to that,” Willis said. “There are fewer tournaments during the season than in high school, so it is critical to try to peak at the right time every couple weeks so that you can play your best when it matters.”
Princeton defeated Dartmouth 3-1-1 in the final round to claim the tournament title.
The women’s team had similar troubles on the final day of its fall season. The team placed fifth in a field of eight at the Lehigh Invitational at the Saucon Valley Country Club.
“This tournament didn’t go as well as we thought,” Marika Liu ’15 said. “What we did differently, however, was talking about each individual’s best and worst shots or holes and breaking these down [after each round].”
Seo Hee Moon ’14 shone for the Bulldogs, posting a score of 153 (+9) to tie for ninth place. Other top finishers for Yale included Liu and Caroline Rouse ’15 who tied for 16th with scores of 157 (+13) and Sun Gyoung Park ’14, who finished just two strokes behind them.
Princeton, the only other Ivy League competitor in the tournament, finished on top with a team score of 603. The Bulldogs ended the weekend 19 strokes behind them at 622.