The men’s golf team is no stranger to the Macdonald Cup, and this weekend the Elis seek to earn their third straight title in three years.
The twelve teams competing this weekend make for a tough playing field. Among them are Ivy League rivals Cornell, Penn, Darmouth and Brown, as well as Illinois,who placed fifth at last year’s NCAA championships.
Coming off a strong 16-stroke victory at the Doc Gimmler tournment two weeks ago and a third place finish at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic last weekend, the Elis enter the weekend feeling ready to compete with the top.
“We definitely have confidence and momentum to draw on from the past few weeks, where we have found great success as a program,” Davenport said. “We know that we can compete with and beat some of the best teams in the nation, so we won’t back down from this opportunity to defend our title against the nation’s finest.”
The tournament will be played at The Course at Yale, which has been voted the nation’s finest collegiate golf course by Golfweek for the past three years.
“Playing at home is definitely an advantage in that we will know the course better than any other team,” Will Davenport ’15 said. “I hope that inside knowledge of the subtleties of the course will give us a tiny edge. That being said, the team that plays the best golf will win this week.”
The Course at Yale was designed in the 1920s by Charles B. MacDonald, a renowned golf course architect and USGA co-founder. Known for its tricky greens and fairways, the course will challenge all of the teams playing this weekend. With that in mind, the Elis know fully well how important home-course advantage will be.
As two-time defending tournament champions, the Elis will have targets on their backs as opposing teams seek to claim the title for their own. Still, the Elis remain motivated, fueled by their goal to be among the top collegiate golf programs.
When asked if competing for a third consecutive victory added any additional pressure, Joe Willis ’16 responded that trying to accomplish the feat may provide an advantage instead.
“Having won the past two years gives us more momentum and confidence rather than adding pressure in my mind,” he said. “We know we can play well on our home course, so we just have to keep that positive mentality.”
As runners-up in last year’s Ivy League championship, the Elis aim to maintain Yale’s tradition of athletic success. With several returning veterans and plenty of new talent this year, the Elis are more determined than ever to reach the top.
The Macdonald Cup tees off at the Course at Yale on Saturday and will run through the afternoon on Sunday.