The men’s golf team opened up its new season with a stormy start, literally and figuratively.

The torrential rains in New Britain, Conn., this past weekend drowned out any chance of golf on Saturday, forcing the Blue Devil Classic — usually played over two days — to be consolidated into one day of action. The Bulldogs said the unfavorable weather conditions played an important role in their disappointing third place finish behind Army and Binghamton.

“There were times when it was so breezy out there I was thinking about teeing off with my putter,” Chris Holmes ’07 said.

Yale finished with a 27-hole team score of 458, one stroke shy of second place Binghamton and eight over winner Army. After a 304 through the first 18 holes put the Elis in fifth place, the Bulldogs came back in the last round with a 154 — the best score in the 13-team field. But the comeback effort fell short. Army’s 157 and Binghamton’s 163 in the final nine holes were enough to stymie the Elis rally.

Despite the less-than-ideal team finish, Holmes’s solid play provided a bright spot for the Elis. Holmes shot a four over par 111 overall to finish fourth in the individual rankings. Yale captain Steve Gray ’05 and Rick Reissman ’06 followed both, penciling in a 115, good for a tie for 13th place.

Yale head coach Dave Paterson attributed Holmes’s ability to overcome the weather to his composure on the course.

“[Holmes] has strong competitive instincts and I expect him to remain in the core team,” Paterson said.

The weather not only affected play but also shortened the tournament to a 27-hole competition. The Blue Devil Classic is traditionally played as a 36-hole contest over the course of two days.

Gray, while not pleased with the finish, said the shortened round made it hard to truly gauge how well the Bulldogs did.

“I think most of us are disappointed because it is a tournament that we should win,” Gray said. “But any tournament that is less than 36 holes is tough to judge as a success or failure. Had the tournament been 36 holes, I think we would have challenged the lead.”

But Paterson said the weather was not the only factor in the Bulldog’s frustrating finish.

“The team needs to step up with one or two even-par or under-par rounds in each event,” Paterson said. “We have the talent to do that, but so far it eludes our top players. If they score low one time it will propel them to do it more often.”

But Holmes and the rest of the Elis know that talent alone is not enough to take the team where they want to go.

“The result of this tournament tells us that we all have to step [up] and play better,” Holmes said. “We can’t just put it on cruise control if we expect to do well in our region.”

Yale looks to rebound next weekend as they travel to Newport, Rhode Island for the Adams Cup.

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