In their last tournament before Ivy play, the Yale men’s golf team snatched a fifth-place finish on their home turf during the Yale Spring Invitational.
The 54-hole tournament featured three rounds of play over two days, with 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. After a sunny first day and two rounds, the Bulldogs were tied for fifth place with the Michigan Wolverines. The third round of play saw similar results for the Bulldogs, who finished in fifth place (+26), one stroke ahead of Harvard (+27) and 11 strokes behind Duke (+15).
“The course was tricky to navigate this weekend, but I think we adjusted pretty well and were able to have a respectable showing,” captain Will Davenport ’15 said.
Due to this year’s harsh winter conditions, the Yale Golf Course only recently opened up for practice. Course conditions were therefore not optimal; this was something the Bulldogs had to overcome during the tournament, Jonathan Lai ’17 said.
Despite the course’s bad conditions, players still highlighted that playing at home was an overall positive experience for the team.
“Playing at home is a unique opportunity,” Davenport said. “We felt very supported this weekend by the staff and volunteers, as well as by our friends and families that were able to come watch us play. That aspect of a home tournament is something we all cherish.”
Lai said the team was feeling especially confident after coming off of a win from the previous weekend at the Princeton Invitational. Lai added that he personally felt he had a good round at the Yale course the weekend before in very windy conditions, so he went into this weekend confident about his performance. His predictions turned out to be right.
After the first day of play, Lai led the Bulldogs with a stroke count of +1. Lai kept up his strong performance the second day, finishing in fifth place overall. Davenport said that, above all, he was pleased with Lai’s performance, who came up with two quality rounds to lead the team.
Joe Willis ’16 said Lai carried the team this weekend, playing with confidence and composure to earn an impressive top-five finish in a tough field.
“I don’t want to sound cocky, but I had the best tournament of my season,” Lai said. “Knowing the course definitely helped, since I was always comfortable out there. I knew exactly what to expect on every hole, and that helped keep me loose while still playing my best.”
This weekend, the Bulldogs will begin Ivy competition with a three-day tournament from April 24 to April 26 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Bulldogs will depart the day before, on Thursday.
Until then, the Bulldogs are hoping that the expected rain will leave a few dry spots for them to practice.
“The forecast for this week is a bit dodgy, but we will do everything possible to be fully prepared and confident heading into the biggest weekend of the year,” Davenport said.
Although the women’s golf team did not compete this weekend, they will also be traveling to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for their Ivy Championship on April 24.