The men’s golf team triumphed in a nerve-racking one stroke victory last weekend at the Princeton Invitational.
After two days of competition, April 14-15, the Bulldogs posted a combined total of 858, which topped Georgetown’s 859 by the slimmest of margins. This is the third year in a row Yale has claimed the Princeton Invitational title. Team captain Jeff Hatten ’12, had a career low final round of 67. His finish was good for second place in the individual competition, only one stroke away from the individual winner, Dartmouth’s Peter Williamson.
“Our goal was to win, and with Ivy League Championships approaching it’s really nice to have this confidence boost,” Hatten said.
Yale was tied with Georgetown heading into the final day of competition. Team members knew they could not afford to make any mistakes or mental errors if they were going to win the tournament, Hatten said. Under these circumstances, he added that “You play every shot like it is the deciding one.”
After finishing Sunday with a score of 283, or one under par, the Elis attempted to decipher their place in the standings. As they started to do the math, William Davenport ’15 said they came to the conclusion that they had lost by one. The team was upset and even told Georgetown congratulations, he added.
But at the awards ceremony, the Bulldogs were in for a pleasant surprise. When team members learned they had one-upped Georgetown and defended their tournament title, Davenport said the atmosphere completely changed.
The tournament win was well timed. Since all Ivy League teams compete in this tournament, it is considered a precursor to Ivies. The two times this academic year that all the Ivy League teams have been in one competition, Yale has won, Sam Bernstein ’14 said, which is a good sign heading into Ivy League Championships.
Hatten agreed that the win is a good sign, but cautioned that this is only one tournament, and the team has to maintain its focus.
“This increases our confidence and tells us we’re going to be very competitive at Ivies but still need to … do our best if we want to win,” Hatten said.
Individually, Hatten was outstanding. His overall score for the three rounds of play was 209, and his last round of the weekend, in which he scored 67, was the best of his Yale career. He ended the weekend four under par and placed second in the individual standings. Davenport scored second best for the Bulldogs. He came back from a disappointing first round, in which he scored 77, to post two rounds of 71 and 70. His total for the weekend was 218, which placed him in a tie for 14th in the individual rankings.
The team’s next challenge is the Century Intercollegiate tournament, which will be held on April 21-22 at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y.