MEN’S GOLF | Elis solid in Indiana

The Bulldogs placed third at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, 20 strokes behind champion Houston.
The Bulldogs placed third at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic, 20 strokes behind champion Houston. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

Entering the final round of its tournament this weekend, the men’s golf team sat in fourth place behind Houston, Georgia Southern and Michigan State. With those tough squads in front of them, the Elis looked to make a charge to get back into the swing of things. Will Davenport ’15 did his best to deliver a dramatic comeback, nailing an eagle on the 10th hole en route to a final round score of 72.

That one dramatic effort, however, was not enough to elevate the Elis to the top of the leaderboard at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic at the end of the weekend. Yale wound up in third place at the tournament, 20 strokes behind champion Houston and five behind runner-up Michigan State.

“Considering that there were some solid teams in the field, we were pretty pleased with this result overall,” Joe Willis ’16 said in an email. “I think everyone felt like they left a few shots out there, but we still finished ahead of some strong teams, which is a positive confidence-builder when looking ahead to the rest of the season.”

Though the Elis were unable to secure the tournament win, they still put forward a solid showing in the 13-team field. Even more notable, perhaps, was the performance of several individual Yale golfers.

After the first day of the tournament, Davenport stood at the top of the leaderboard at the Warren Golf Course in South Bend, Ind. The junior shot a 71 in the first round of the day and a 68 in the day’s second round, good for a one-stroke lead. The 68 was the lowest score shot by any Eli in any round on the weekend.

“I played some of my best golf as a Yalie this past weekend, so I was really thrilled to see a lot of hard work come to fruition,” Davenport said in an email.

On the second day of the tournament, Davenport finished strong with a 72 to fall to a respectable fifth-place finish for the tournament. He was not alone in fifth, however: Teammate and captain Sam Bernstein ’14 put together a strong final round to bring himself into a tie with Davenport. Bernstein shot a 69 after putting together rounds of 70 and 72 on the first day.

Willis also placed in the top 25 for the tournament. Whereas Willis could not place as highly as his teammates, he was perhaps the most consistent performer in the tournament: He put up a score of 73 in each of his three rounds to finish in 21st.

The Bulldogs will continue their season in two weeks at the MacDonald Cup, which will take place on Oct. 5 and 6. The meet will be hosted by the Elis and held at the Yale Golf Course, the No. 1 ranked collegiate course in the country. The team will be defending its championship at this event, where it triumphed by three strokes over second-place Hartford University last year.

Houston’s Kyle Pilgrim won the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic with a total score of 208 on the weekend.

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