GOLF: Yale ready to tee off at Ivies

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

On Saturday, the men and women’s golf teams will compete in the most important event of their seasons — the Ivy League Championships.

After second place finishes for both the men and women’s golf teams in their most recent contests, the two squads will head to Springfield, N.J., to compete at the Ivy League Championship, hosted at Baltusrol Golf Club. Members of the men’s team said that they will have to remain patient and play consistently throughout the challenging course and keep their minds off the rival Crimson team, which has claimed the top spot just above the Bulldogs in each of the last two meets this season.

“I think that patience will be key. It’s a long tournament and the course will be playing tough so it’s going to be really important to stay patient and take things one hole at a time,” Joe Willis ’16 said. “I’d say the shots around the greens will also be a challenge and a key.”

While several close contests with the Crimson have increased the pressure on the men’s team, Bulldog golfers said that these meets contribute to development that leads to success at the Ivy Championships.

Though the tournament takes place over just three days of an otherwise yearlong season, golfers diffuse the pressure of preparation across the entire season as opposed to concentrating it on the days leading up to the final contest.

“The biggest difference between Ivies and the rest of the year is the heightened pressure,” Will Davenport ’15 said. “This is by far the most important weekend of the year, so knowing that but preparing the same way you do for any other event is key. It’s all about process. You win Ivies throughout the year, not just on the three days of the tournament.”

While the men’s team has played through windy, sunny, rainy and various other difficult conditions this spring, it has not played on a course as challenging as Baltusrol.

The shift in difficulty, regardless of climate, will test the Bulldogs.

“This is a new tournament, on a vastly different golf course than what we saw the last two weeks, so we are preparing specifically for that,” Sean Gaudette ’14 said.

While the men’s team has competed each of the past three weekends, the women’s program has not teed off in formal completion since April 6.

So far this season, the women’s team has finished first in three tournaments, second in three and third in one. The Elis have not finished any lower than third this season.

In order to ensure they are prepared to outperform their third place finishes at Ivies the last two years, the Bulldogs used their previous meets to prepare for Ivies.

“We are practicing mindfully,” said women’s team captain Sun Park ’14. “We went to different courses to prepare for the different conditions we will face at the tournament course.”

In 2005, Baltusrol hosted the 87th PGA Championship and it has been selected to host the 98th annual PGA Championship in 2016.

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