The men’s golf team held off a strong showing from archrivals Harvard and Princeton at the Sebonack Golf Club to secure victory at the season opener Sunday.
The event was a match play tournament, with the Bulldogs winning the tri–meet over the Crimson 7.5 to 6.5. The Tigers claimed the remaining four matches. The HYP match was the three teams’ first event of the season for the second straight year. Yale won last year in dominating fashions, taking eight of 15 total matches.
But this time around, the Bulldogs were playing without former captain Tom McCarthy ’11, a three–time First Team All-Ivy selection.
“Although it is impossible to replace a legendary Yale golfer like Tom, the other upperclassmen have really been stepping up and playing great,” Brad Kushner ’13 said.
Kushner and Sam Bernstein ’14 led the Elis by scoring two points each. Kushner defeated Princeton’s Evan Harmeling with a two–up victory and followed up with a dominating win over Harvard captain Antonio Grillo.
Bernstein, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, picked up right where he left off last spring with a quick victory on the 13th hole over Taylor Peck. He completed the sweep by beating the Crimson’s Theo Lederhausen.
“This year’s team is looking great,” captain Jeff Hatten ’12 said. “We have a lot of good players and hopefully we will feed off each other’s success.”
Hatten defeated Chase Lovett–Woodsum of Princeton before splitting the Harvard match to give the Bulldogs a crucial advantage over the Crimson.
Russell Holmes ’13 dropped two closely contested matches, including a loss on the final hole against the Tigers.
“Russell also played really well,” Kushner said. “He was unlucky to meet formidable opponents who also played their best golf.”
However, it wasn’t just the upperclassmen who stood out on Sunday, as the freshman duo of Thomas Greenhalgh ’15 and William Davenport ’15 made an impressive debut for the Elis.
Davenport missed out on an opportunity to get his first collegiate victory in Blue and White, losing both of his matches on the 17th hole.
“I felt like the opportunities were there for me to get a leg up in each match,” Davenport said. “Unfortunately both of my opponents played fantastic golf and I was unable to capitalize on some good chances to regain momentum.”
Greenhalgh defeated Princeton senior Patrick Wasserman on the 15th hole for his first win of the season but ran into a tougher obstacle against Harvard’s Kevin McCarthy, who managed to take the match to the final hole. But Greenhalgh held him off with a birdie for his second victory of the day.
“Winning my first two matches is the perfect start to the season and a big confidence boost,” Greenhalgh said. “My goals for the rest of the season are to continue improving my game and to make a big contribution to the team’s overall success.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Newport National Golf Club next Monday to play in the two–day Adams Cup. The tournament will feature some of the best teams on the East Coast, including the runner–up at last season’s national championship, the University of Georgia.
“As with any tournament we enter, our goal is to win the Adams Cup,” Hatten said. “We have the talent to contend, we will need to grind over every shot and minimize mental errors.”