On the 13th hole of his first round on Saturday, Sam Bernstein ’14 shot a triple bogey, and by the par-five 16th hole he sat four-over par for the round. Stepping into the tee box on the 585-yard 16th, the junior had an opportunity to make up some of that ground. After a massive drive and a slightly mishit hybrid shot, he faced a 20-yard chip with a chance at an eagle. Bernstein sunk the chip to help propel Yale to a second-place finish with an overall score of 592.
“I kind of just made a good swing, went through my routine, and it was a really good chip,” Bernstein said. “It would’ve been inches away if it didn’t fall but I was lucky enough where it just kind of dropped in the cup.”
While Bernstein noted that he had an inconsistent tournament, the junior carried the momentum from the eagle, the only eagle of the day in the 13-team field, to place tied for fourth overall at +4, Yale’s top finisher. Bernstein’s score, along with two other top-15 finishes from Yale’s first team, carried the Elis’ top squad to a second-place finish at the Yale Spring Opener at the Yale Golf Course on Saturday.
Villanova won the tournament with an overall score of 583 and Hartford amassed a 597 to finish in third, while Yale’s second team tied Brown for eighth.
“It was as good a day as you can hope to have, short of winning the event,” head coach Colin Sheehan ’97 said. “Conditions were as difficult as they can get,” he continued, adding that wind-chill crept into the 30s in the morning and that the athletes competed for about 10 consecutive hours.
Golfers from 13 schools, including all of the Ivies but Harvard, completed two rounds during the single-day tournament on Saturday. In the first round, the Elis combined to shoot a 303 and sat in fifth place behind Villanova, Princeton, Temple and Penn.
Bernstein posted the best score for the Elis in that round, shooting a one-over 71, while Thomas Greenhalgh ’15 shot a 75 and captain Bradley Kushner ’13 shot a 76. All golfers in the tournament recorded an average round of 78.93 during the first round, almost three strokes above the second round average of 76.10.
“For some reason we got off to a bad start,” Kushner said.
During the second round, however, the Bulldogs took advantage of their home course and powered their way to the round’s best team score. The Elis shot a combined 289, 14 strokes better than their first round tally, while Villanova shot a 290 and Hartford scored a 291.
Kushner led the way for Yale, posting an even-par 70 during the second round. Three teammates, Bernstein, Greenhalgh and William Davenport ’15, followed their captain by each scoring three-over par 73’s.
“I think that having the advantage of playing on the Yale course every day and walking the course which is pretty hilly and having the endurance after seven miles of walking to be able to keep focused and mentally fresh out there was really important,” Kushner said. “It’s kind of just golf sometimes. One round you play well, other rounds you don’t.”
While the Elis finished in the top-four for the weekend on par three, four and five scoring, they performed especially well in the latter two categories. The team finished 30 shots over par on par fours, tied with Villanova for second, and shot one under on par fives, two shots behind first-place Penn. While the Bulldogs’ top team ranked fourth in scoring on par threes, the Yale II squad ranked second.
Sheehan noted that John McNiff ’15, competing on the second team, recorded a personal best score on the day, posting a +10 150 for the tournament. Additionally, Sheehan said that Saturday was the first time that Greenhalgh, a sophomore, competed in Yale’s top five and that he excelled in the position.
The men’s golf team will continue its season next weekend at the two-day Princeton Invitational at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, N.J.
Correction: April 8
A previous version of this article misidentified Sam Bernstein ’14 as a senior. It also mistakenly stated that Bernstein shot a triple bogey on the 14th hole in his first round on Saturday, when in fact he shot the triple bogey on the 13th hole.