After finishing fifth in the Ivy League Championship at the conclusion of last season, the Yale men’s golf team will tee off again this weekend at the Doc Glimmer, a season-opening tournament hosted annually by St. John’s University.
Although the Elis will be without recently graduated top performers Thomas Greenhalgh ’15 and Will Davenport ’15, this year’s team does feature players with a variety of experience levels and talented underclassmen.
After Davenport’s graduation, he handed his role of captain over to Joe Willis ’16, the team’s lone senior. At the end of last season, Willis was selected as a member of the 2014–2015 Division I PING All-Region Team for the Northeast for the second consecutive year. He has been a steady performer for the Bulldogs as evidenced by his tie for 12th place in his first Ivy League Championship and his ninth-place finish in the same tournament as a sophomore — a season in which he was awarded second-team All-Ivy honors.
“As captain, I want to encourage my teammates to reach their full potential and foster a strong sense of camaraderie amongst the team,” Willis said. “It is a close-knit group already and I think it will only get better this year.”
Along with Willis, the returning leaders for the Bulldogs include Jonathan Lai ’17 and Li Wang ’17. Last season, Lai (+14) finished in the top 20 at the Ivy League Championship. Willis (+13) shot one stroke better than Lai to cap the Bulldog season, while Wang completes the solid trio of proven players for Yale.
According to Lai, there will be competition among the Bulldogs each week to determine the top-four positions for tournament play each week. The other returning players vying for the four starting positions include Will Bernstein ’18, Henry Cassriel ’18, Nick McNiff ’17 and James Park ’17.
“We have a good fall schedule coming up and we are excited to see how we will stack up against other talented teams,” Lai said.
In addition to the returning golfers, Jake Leffew ’19, Eoin Leonard ’19 and James Nicholas ’19 will be joining the team this fall. Nicholas brings the most unexpected background to the tee box as he will also be competing on the gridiron for the Bulldogs as a member of the football team.
“I’m very excited to compete again. I have been waiting all summer to play for the Yale golf team, and I am sure that everyone who is going to play this weekend is very excited too,” Lai said.
The Doc Glimmer takes place at the Bethpage Red Golf Course in Farmingdale, New York.