Yale’s golf teams are beginning their spring seasons with high expectations and Ivy League Championships to defend.
Both the men’s and women’s teams qualified for the NCAA tournament last year after winning their respective Ivy League Championships. The women’s team, which will compete on Monday in Georgetown, lost three seniors last season to graduation, but expects to make up the difference with a strong freshman class. The men’s team, which will kick off it’s spring season on April 7 at home, lost only one senior and gained three freshman.
“Everybody is hungry to repeat an Ivy League Championship,” William Davenport ’15 said.
After a winter of working inside, the men’s team is itching to hit the golf course and repeat the success of last spring. Members of the team said they may be even stronger this year.
“I think we’re just as strong if not stronger [than last year],” Jeffrey Hatten ’12, the team captain said, “We have more experience than last year,” he added. The biggest loss to the men’s team was former captain Tom McCarthy ’11, who was a significant contributor to the team last year. The three freshmen this year, Davenport, Thomas Greenhalgh ’15, and John McNiff ’15, have stepped up to take his place. Davenport, in particular emerged as part of the starting lineup in the fall season.
The women’s team lost three seniors last year. The team is now composed of more underclassmen than upperclassmen, which is a big change, Alexandra Lipa ’13 said. But this change is not necessarily for the worse. The Bulldogs gained three new freshman, Shreya Ghei ’15, Marika Liu ’15 and Caroline Rouse ’15. Lipa said that the freshmen are helping to fill the hole the seniors left in the lineup.
Both teams have their sights set on the Ivy League Championships, which will take place in late April. Members of the teams said they expect nothing less than a repeat of last season.
“We won the Ivy title last year and intend on winning it again,” Lipa said in an email to the News. The main goal of the men’s team is also to defend its title, Hatten said. If either team wins another Ivy League title, it will continue competition in the NCAA tournament. The toughest competition in the Ivy League for the men’s team is currently Dartmouth, Davenport said. He added that Yale defeated Dartmouth in the fall season.
The women’s team’s tournament against Georgetown will be its first since the fall, except for the Rio Verde tournament, which they competed in over spring break in Arizona. The team is eager to begin the season this weekend, Lipa said.
The men’s team is also eager to begin its season.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re excited,” Hatten said.
The men’s season opener will be hosted by Yale next weekend, April 7. A home tournament is an advantage, since the team has played on its own course many times, McNiff said. Due to this advantage and the team’s strength, if the Bulldogs play their best game, they could certainly win the tournament, Davenport said.
The men’s team placed ninth at their spring break tournament, the Callaway Farms Invitational in Santa Fe, Calif.