The Yale men’s golf team clinched first place at the Ivy League Matchplay over its Ancient Eight rivals this past weekend, squeezing out a win over Harvard in the final round.
The Elis went 2–0 the first day of play at the event, held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., taking down Princeton and Brown. They continued their dominance on Sunday by stomping out the Crimson 4–3 for the first place finish.
“We had had good results so far this season, so my expectations were high going into the Harvard match,” team captain Sam Bernstein ’14 said. “All of the matches were pretty close, but we were able to grind it out and play pretty well as a whole team.”
Last year, the Bulldogs left this event with a fourth-place finish after falling to Brown in the run-off for third. Will Davenport ’15 attributes Yale’s success to a strong start early on and a deep roster.
Yale defeated Brown 4–3 in the first round of play. After a break, the Bulldogs came back in the second round to easily push past the Princeton Tigers 6–1 to reach the play-off for first place on Sunday.
According to head coach Colin Sheehan ’97, the conditions on Sunday morning for the second day of play were gusty and chilly. Yale reached four points necessary to beat the Crimson through wins by Li Wang ’17, Joe Willis ’16, Davenport and Bernstein. Bernstein secured the win for the Elis with the deciding point on the 17th green.
“I can’t overstate how successful and exciting this fall season was for us,” Davenport said. “I consider myself blessed to be a part of such a talented squad and a great group of young men.”
The Bulldogs had strong showings at all of their four fall tournaments. They managed to start off the season with a first-place finish out of 14 teams at the Doc Gimmler tournament in Southampton, N.Y.
At the Fighting Irish Gridiron Golf Classic in Southbend, Ind., the Elis pulled off a third-place finish. Just prior to the Ivy League Matchplay, Yale produced a runner-up performance at the Macdonald Cup at home in New Haven at the Course at Yale, where it hosted fourteen teams.
Bernstein is hopeful that the team’s success so far will place them in contention for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.
“This is the best season we’ve had in the five I’ve been a part of, and it has put us in a position to contend on the national stage,” Davenport said. “I’m already chomping at the bit to see what we can do in the spring.”
The Bulldogs will take a break from competition until the spring season, when they will resume play in March at the Linger Longer Invitational at the Great Waters Course in Greensboro, Ga.