Though this year’s NCAA regional tournament will be played on Yale’s home course next weekend, the Eli golfers will likely be looking on as spectators.
The Bulldogs carded an eighth-place 625 (308-317) at the URI Newport Invitational this weekend. The Elis’ disappointing performance at the Green Valley Country Club has likely taken them out of contention for the final spot in the New England division. The NCAA allocates only three spots from the district for the regionals.
Yale head coach Dave Paterson said he doubts that his team’s performance at URI will be enough to earn an NCAA selection.
“We were on the cusp [of making the regional tournament] and we probably needed to beat Binghamton,” he said. “Let’s put it this way, I’m not optimistic.”
Paterson is on the NCAA selection committee but said he would have to step aside when it came time to consider Yale’s candidacy for the regional tournament.
Binghamton finished fifth with a 613 (307-306). The University of Rhode Island, which took the weekend with a 590 (298-292) will likely play at the regional tournament. The only other Ivy teams in the tournament, Dartmouth and Brown, ended the weekend in ninth and 11th place, respectively.
In Middletown, R.I., Steve Gray ’05 led Yale with a two-round 153 that placed him in a tie for 18th. Brian Kim ’06 trailed Gray by one stroke. Rick Reissman ’06, captain Benjamin Levy ’04 and Dan Levy ’06 also participated for the Bulldogs.
“Not being able to pinpoint why you can’t play well [is most frustrating],” Levy said. “We started on such a good note at the beginning of the year, but since then we have been in a downhill slide pattern. What’s more frustrating than anything is that the more we’ve tried as the year’s gone on, our scores have just gotten higher and higher.”
Paterson was not sure what had caused the team’s downturn.
“Golf is a very fragile game,” he said. “I don’t know what set them off in this direction, but it started with a the [Yale] Spring Opener. They don’t seem to have confidence in their own ability. I have more confidence in their play than they do.”
He did note that the team seemed to be dogged by one particularly bad round in each tournament, rather than consistent below-average play.
“We just kept kicking in that one bad round every tournament,” Paterson said. “I guess apart from those rounds, you could say the rest was reasonably good, but still well below [our team’s] potential.”
Levy said the disappointments of this season could help the returning underclassmen.
“As everybody struggled, we’ve all been able to identify where our weaknesses are in our game,” he said. “Guys now know exactly what they need to focus on.”
If Yale is not selected, this past weekend will have been its last tournament of the season.
Whether or not the Elis are selected to participate, the NCAA East Regionals will commence on the Course at Yale on May 19.