Members of the men’s golf team thought they had seen the end of rainy skies and blustering winds when they left Europe. Then they came back to New Haven.
The Elis struggled with the monsoon-like weather conditions this weekend at the Course at Yale, finishing sixth in the Yale Spring Open with a 44-over 604 (306-298). Ranked No. 2 in the New England District, the Bulldogs were ranked above every other squad heading into the two-day, 36-hole event. No. 7 Boston College, No. 4 Central Connecticut State University, and No. 10 Hartford University all finished in front of the Bulldogs. Drexel University, from the Mid-Atlantic District, won the tournament with a 30-over 590 (302-288).
Yale’s Steve Gray ’05 turned in the best scorecard of all the Elis, ending in fifth place out of 110 players who competed with a 5-over 145 (72-73). BC’s Sean McReynolds won the individual competition with a 2-under 138.
The Course at Yale, which will host the NCAA East Regional in late May, was not in good shape for the Yale Spring Opener this past weekend. Aeration holes in the greens should improve the course’s play in time for the regionals, but for now they have made the putting surface difficult.
“The golf greens were very, very unpredictable,” Yale head coach Dave Paterson said. “There were several players in the event that had five-putts and four-putts, which gives you an idea how the greens were.”
While every team struggled making putts, Gray thought the Bulldogs were especially hurt.
“I think the problem with my team, myself, and probably everyone in the tournament, was the greens,” Gray said. “They were in terrible condition. Putting is one of our team’s strengths. Playing on such bad greens sort of neutralizes that advantage. [Having the greens in their current condition] sort of sucks, but hopefully it will pay off come May [for the regionals].”
Yale entered three teams, which finished sixth, ninth, and 17th.
“The team was definitely disappointed,” captain Ben Levy ’04 said. “Other than Steve [Gray] no one really had it going for both rounds. No excuses. Other teams got it done and we didn’t.”
Levy said he was not particularly surprised by any of the other teams.
“If you had told me 590 was going to win, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all,” he said. “I was probably most surprised by our performance. We probably all expected to play better.”
Though Gray said he was not in the mood to be watching the individual leaderboard, his play was not lost on his coach.
“I was particularly pleased by his performance because he had been underachieving most of last year,” Paterson said. “He took a good look at himself and how he was approaching his game, and I think he found a solution. He took a more friendly approach to the game and it’s helping him tremendously. He’s not putting as much pressure on himself.”
Yale will play in the Ivy Championships at the Metedeconk National Golf Course in Jackson, N.J. on April 17 and 18. Yale is the defending team champion and Eli Brian Kim ’06 is the individual champ.
[The players] all [are] putting in moderate performances, with Steve [Gray] being the exception to that, and they have the capability of playing much lower,” Paterson said. “Generally in order [for a team] to stay at the head of the list, you have to have at least a couple of players shooting even par or one over par. We have players shooting mid-level scores and we need them to take it down a little bit. That’s really the difference between winning and finishing sixth in the tournament.”