Sunny Southern California didn’t seem so bright for the Yale golf team earlier this week at The Prestige, a National Collegiate Invitational in Palm Desert. The Elis finished a disappointing 15th out of 15 teams at the competition this past Monday and Tuesday.

After starting their season with a win at the Dartmouth Invitational, the Elis have struggled, putting on disappointing performances in subsequent tournaments.

“We all needed to step it up this week, and basically no one did,” Brian Kim ’06 said.

The Elis shot 922 over two days. The Bulldogs notched 303 and 311 in the two Monday rounds, and finished with a 308 in the third round on Tuesday.

Kim led the team with a score of 226 (79-72-75) on a par 72 course.ÊKim was the only Bulldog to shoot par in any of the three rounds played. Behind Kim was Steve Gray ’05 with 231 (73-79-79), Rick Reissman ’06 with 233 (75-82-76), Dan Levy ’06 with 234 (77-78-79) and Ben Levy ’04 with 238 (78-82-78).

“I felt like my game was there, but I just didn’t really produce the results I should have,” Gray said.

Yale competed against some of the top teams in the country at The Prestige, including UCLA, who won the tournament, and the defending Prestige champion, Texas Christian University.

The tournament consisted of three rounds, 36 holes on Monday and 18 holes on Tuesday. The PGA West Mountain Course at La Quinta was a deceptively simple one.

“It didn’t seem that hard, but it was difficult to score well — the greens were tough,” Gray said.

Head coach Dave Paterson reminded the Elis that they are in a different situation than most of the teams represented at the Prestige due to Yale’s lack of athletic scholarships.Ê

Kim said that the tournament was difficult to prepare for, both mentally and physically, due to the stress of midterms.

“We weren’t swinging [the club] or putting [the ball] well, and on days like that you have to take what you have and salvage, and mentally work your way around the course,” Kim said.

After competing against some of the country’s top teams, the Bulldogs had a chance to observe players who exhibited greater skill, and they were thus able to take the tournament as a learning experience.

The Bulldogs will now take the 49-day rest period mandated by the Ivy League and use the winter to begin preparing for the spring season. Luckily, in golf, the spring season is much more important than the fall season.

As defending Ivy League champions, Yale golfers look to prove to themselves and to their opponents that they are capable of playing better than they did this fall. Come the spring season, the Bulldogs will hopefully find themselves in a situation similar to last year’s — in a neck-and-neck race with Princeton for the Ivy League title.

“We haven’t even come close to fulfilling our team potential, which is really what matters to us because we know that if we do, we’ll either win or have a chance to win at any of the tournaments in which we play,” said Kim.