As spring slowly begins to dawn in New Haven, students have begun making their way outside to enjoy the weather. And after competing in three meets in the middle of March, the men’s golf spring season officially gets underway this weekend. Yet the Elis will not have to travel far to meet their competition.
The Bulldogs will host this Saturday’s Yale Spring Opener, a one-day event, at the Yale Golf Course. The meet will be sure to serve as a solid litmus test for the team as all of its Ivy League competitors except will Harvard will be in attendance.
“The team this spring looks good and our goal as it is every spring is to win the Ivy League championship at the end of April,” Sam Bernstein ’14 said. “This weekend our goal as a team and individually is just to keep getting better, improve our game and enjoy ourselves out on the golf course.”
The Elis seem to have an advantage this weekend as the competition takes place at the team’s home course. The Bulldogs won the tournament held at the course during the fall season, the Macdonald Cup.
The meet will be the fourth for the Elis in 2013, after finishing 14th at the Tiger Invitational, losing a duel meet to Georgia and winning a duel meet against Bradley. That last meet took place in the middle of March, however, and the Yale Spring Opener represents the start of a long stretch for the Bulldogs, a run in which they will play every weekend until the Ivy League Championships the weekend of April 26.
“The team is in great spirits as they prepare for the coming four consecutive weekends of tournament play,” head coach Colin Sheehan ’97 said in an email to the News. “It is a very grueling yet exhilarating dash that lasts a mere 22 days from the Spring Opener to the final round of the Ivy Championship.”
Despite finishing sixth at last year’s spring Ivy League Championships and fourth at the fall’s Ivy Matchplay tournament, both Sheehen and Bernstein emphasized that the team’s focus this season is on capturing the Ivy League title. During the fall season, the Elis certainly showed improvement—at the three events in which they competed both this season and last season, the Elis posted the same or better results this year.
The Elis boast an experienced squad that lost only one golfer, Jeffrey Hatten ’12, to graduation last year. Led by captain Bradley Kushner ’13, other Elis to keep an eye on this season are Bernstein, William Davenport ’15 and Joe Willis ’16.
“As always, our goal is to contend for victory in every event. If we play well, we feel capable of winning any one of them,” Sheehan said. “We hope to use each week as a building block for the following week as we prepare the Ivy Championship, the most important tournament of the year.”
Action will get underway this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at the Yale Golf Course.