A valiant second-round effort helped the men’s golf team move up from the bottom rungs of the New England Championships this weekend.

The Bulldogs shot a 289, the best team score of the tournament’s second round, Sunday to finish in fourth place out of 16 teams in the tournament. The New England Div. I Championships were hosted by the University of Rhode Island at the Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence, R.I.

A dismal first-round score of 308 landed the Elis in 12th place in the field at the end of play on Saturday. But the team did not let some poor rounds affect play in the final rounds of the tourney.

“We knew we had nothing to lose going into the second day,” Colby Moore ’09 said. “The tournament didn’t mean much to us as we’re already out of the [NCAA East] Regional. It was just so that we could get some confidence for next weekend. So we played a lot more relaxed and aggressively and that paid off.”

At the end of the first day, Joe Hernandez ’08 golfed best for the Bulldogs, scoring 75 and tying eight other players for 20th. But the other Ancient Eight teams competing in the tournament, specifically Brown, Dartmouth and Harvard, all placed above the Elis.

Since the Bulldogs will be facing the same teams at the Ivy tournament next weekend, a stellar performance was needed tp give them a much-needed boost.

“We needed to make a strong showing at this tournament,” Moore said. “I think that inspired us to kind of pick up our game. Looking at this week, and going into next week, gives us a piece of confidence.”

Besides Moore, the other rookie who usually plays in the top five, Taylor Hakes ’09, was absent from the lineup. Hakes, who was replaced by Hernandez, said he was taking a weekend off and would play in the upcoming Ivy League Championships.

“I had a lot of schoolwork and the tournament wasn’t a really big deal,” Hakes said. “I thought it was a good time to take a break. The team did really well by picking up the second day. It’s going to give us momentum going into next week.”

On Sunday, the Elis performed better than eventual tournament winners Binghamton, which tallied a team score of 292. Had the Bulldogs played in the same fashion the previous day, they would have emerged victorious by two strokes.

Captain Rick Reissman ’06 was Yale’s top scorer on Day 2, shooting a three-under 69. But his disappointing first-round performance left him to finish in 23rd place with a total of 150 over the two days. Mark Matza ’07 had only good things to say about the captain.

“[Reissman] bounced back really well,” Matza said. “That’s the kind of player he is. He’s a really great golfer. Hopefully he’ll do this well next weekend as well and lead the team like he has been.”

The Bulldogs’ next road trip is the anticipated quest for the gold jacket at the Ivy Championships at the Ballyowen Golf Course in New Jersey, April 21-23. In the final standings this weekend, the Elis stood above all of the other Ivy teams at the New England Championships, which has made players optimistic of their chances at Ivies.

“We had a great championship this weekend,” Matza said. “Hopefully, we can run with what we shot last weekend and bring it to the tournament next weekend.”