The men’s golf team had no trouble locating the fairway at the Adams Cup. But somehow the Elis just couldn’t find the cup.

The Bulldogs built on strong tee shots on the Orchards Course in Newport, R.I. Sunday through Tuesday but it was trouble with the short game that prohibited Yale from finishing better than their 36-hole team score of 612 — 305 in the first round, 307 in the second. The finish tied the Elis for ninth with East Carolina University and Southeastern Louisiana University. Michigan State took home the hardware from the 15-team field with a 572.

“The team got off to a good start with a couple of players under par on the opening nine [holes],” Yale head coach Dave Paterson said. “But we lost momentum in the closing holes. We matched the best [teams] from the tee but had trouble with approach shots to the greens. Chipping and putting was loose and cost us shots.”

Rick Reismann ’06 led the Elis with a two-round score of 152, good for a tie for 29th place in the individual rankings. Mark Matza ’07 and Christopher Holmes ’07 followed closely with scores of 154 and 155 respectively.

Although the Bulldogs were left with a bitter taste in their mouths after last weekend’s third-place finish at the Blue Devil Classic, the general feelings regarding this performance were much more positive. This is due in large part to the top-tier competition the Bulldogs faced. The Adams Cup featured many NCAA top 50 teams, including top-10 team Michigan State.

Yale captain Steve Gray ’05 saw the Elis’ finish as a solid building block for the rest of the season.

“This was our team’s best finish [at the Adams Cup] in recent years,” Gray said. “We were just a couple shots short of our goal which was to finish in the top half of the field. Overall the team performed better than last week, but we still need to work on tightening up our short games.”

Even so, Holmes saw Yale’s ninth place finish in a marquee tournament as a missed opportunity to make a statement.

“We played very average and missed out on a chance to distinguish ourselves in a very strong field,” Holmes said.

Paterson and the rest of the Bulldogs know that in order to finish better in future tournaments — including next weekend’s MacDonald Cup at Yale — they must focus more on putting during practice.

“Playing with top teams enabled our players to determine where we lose shots to them,” Paterson said. “On average [we lost] four to five [shots] per round and all were around the greens. It is clear that we need to brush up the short game. And we will focus on that in preparation for the MacDonald Cup.”