Although it was playing at one of the best golf courses in the country, the Yale men’s golf team struggled to reassert itself as one of the best teams in the Ivy League.
After jumping ahead of their conference rivals last week at the Princeton Invitational in the wind and rain, the Bulldogs struggled in this weekend’s rain-free Caves Valley Spring Intercollegiate, tying for fourth in the eight-team tournament held in Owing Mills, Md.
Whereas at Princeton and Yale finished ahead of all of their Ivy foes, the Elis finished behind Harvard and Penn, tying Princeton. In the previous tournament, Yale finished 14 shots ahead of Harvard, but the Crimson had a strong performance at Caves Valley, winning the tournament by 13 shots.
The Caves Valley golf course is recognized as one of the nation’s best, but this may have proved to be a disadvantage, as the Yale team was not used to playing on such fast greens — a sign of a well-manicured course.
“Putting was a big struggle for the team this weekend,” captain Colby Moore ’09 said. “The greens were much faster than anything we’ve been playing on.”
Although the weekend was a disappointment for the Bulldogs, they entered the second day of the tournament in second place, very much in reach of Harvard, who held a six-shot lead after one round. Moore shot a score of 69 (-2) on Saturday, to lead the team.
On Sunday, however, nearly the entire team struggled. Taylor Hakes ’09, shot an 83 (+12), while Moore bogeyed four of his last six holes to finish with a 76 (+5), seven shots worse than the previous day. The team finished Sunday with a score of 312, 12 shots worse than Saturday’s score.
This was the inaugural year for the Caves Valley Spring Intercollegiate. Sponsored by Yale, this tournament allows many members of the Ivy League — all but Columbia and Dartmouth attended the event — to face each other one last time before they all meet in Atlantic City, N.J., for the Ivy League Championships. Beginning on Friday, the Ancient Eight will compete for three days, as the Bulldogs try to improve upon last year’s second-place finish and take the title from defending champion Columbia.
Despite the poor finish for the team at Caves Valley, the Bulldogs are going to use their performance as a learning experience for next week.
“We wanted to win this tournament, but it could have been a blessing in disguise,” Moore said. “Next week we are going to be really focused on finishing each round the way we know how to, and the way we would like to.”