After a disappointing second-place finish last weekend, the men’s golf team is hoping that a weekend at home will result in a reversal of last week’s fortunes.

The Bulldogs, along with 20 other teams throughout the Northeast, will hit the greens at The Course at Yale this weekend for the Yale Spring Opener. And if there ever was a time when Yale had a chance at winning its first tournament of the spring, this is it.

“There’s always an advantage when you play at home,” Ben Levy ’04 said. “You know the course better than anyone.”

That knowledge is especially advantageous at The Course at Yale, Steve Gray ’05 said.

“Our course is particularly quirky,” he said. “You have to know where to miss and when to hit a longer shot. It can get tricky.”

The Elis, who won the event last year, are hoping they can defend their title. Gray said that should not be a problem.

“We expect to win,” he said. “Anything less than a win would be unsatisfying.”

But there is more at stake this weekend for Yale than just a tournament title. The Elis have a chance to qualify for the New England District Championships.

“If we can beat Binghamton and Central Connecticut State, we are pretty much guaranteed a berth at regionals,” Levy said.

Levy said the championships were originally planned to be played at The Course at Yale, but the course is in poor condition. He could only imagine what could have been.

“If there was a place for us to win regionals, it would have been at home,” Levy said. “But right now, we’re focusing on this weekend.”

The Elis come off a disappointing second place finish last weekend at the George Washington Invitational, where Princeton edged Yale 309-312. Yale had won the invitational last year.

“We’re not depressed or anything,” Levy said. “But we all could have done better.”

Rain shortened the event to 18 holes, making for a most unpredictable tournament, Levy said. “It was an odd weekend,” Levy said. “Anything can happen in one round.”

Thirty-degree cold and 25 mile-per-hour winds hurt the Elis. “The weather was rough,” Levy said. “Any bad shot was magnified. A small error turned into double and triple bogeys. A lot of stuff was working against us.”

One of the finer moments of the weekend was the performance of captain Neel Williams ’03. He shot a 73, good enough for first place individually.

Williams has had a brilliant start to his spring season. During spring break, he led the team to third and sixth place finishes in Texas and Kentucky, respectively.

“You couldn’t ask any more out of your number one player and your captain,” Levy said. “He fits the job completely, and it’s been nice. He takes the pressure off the other guys.”

But the Elis will need the “other guys” to step up this weekend.

“Neel [Williams] has been pretty much carrying us,” Gray said. “We’re looking for other guys to put in steady and consistent numbers, myself included. It’s all about getting the right five in at the right time.”