The Yale men’s golf team ended its regular season on a high note, securing a victory on its home course at the Yale Spring Invitational.
Saturday’s one-day, two-round tournament on Yale’s par-70 course saw a 13-team field that included Brown, Penn and Cornell. Yale dominated the field of competition en route to tallying the low score in both rounds, including a 284 in round one and a 285 in round two, which was good for nine over par for the weekend. Finishing behind the Bulldogs as a team was Drexel and Penn at 29 over par for a distant second place. Four Bulldogs finished in the top nine: Will Bernstein ’18 at one, James Nicholas ’19 at three, captain Li Wang ’17 at five and Jonathan Lai ’17 at nine.
“All of our players have shown throughout the year that they can compete at a high level,” Bernstein said. “It is great to see everyone peaking at the right time with the Ivy championship next week. In particular, our steady leadership from Li and Jonathan has carried us throughout the spring season. We know the competition will be stiff next weekend, but we will be playing with confidence coming off a victory.”
Bernstein, who is no stranger to the top of the leaderboards, finished with the best overall scorecard on Saturday. The junior finished at 1 under par after shooting a 73 in the first round and following it up with a 66, the best single round at the tournament.
Bernstein was joined in the top five by a pair of teammates who have excelled all season. Nicholas finished just two strokes behind with 1 over par, thanks to a 69 and 72 on Saturday. The sophomore has been consistent all season in his play, currently listed as the seventh lowest-scoring golfer in the Ivy League.
“The key was just staying focused and disciplined,” Bernstein said. “I had a frustrating finish to my first round with a silly bogey on 18 to shoot 73, but then started my second round with three straight birdies on the first three holes. Those birdies set the tone for the entire second round. The play by James set the tone for the team. It was great to see all of his hard work pay off.”
Rounding out the top five for the Elis was Wang, who regained top form after the Princeton Invitational last weekend. Currently averaging the lowest score in the Ancient Eight, Wang shot one over par in the first round and three over during the next round, totaling four over par for the tournament. Lai finished just a stroke behind his senior teammate at five over par, after tallying a 74 and 75 in each round.
Several other Bulldogs contributed to the scorecard on Saturday as well. Eoin Leonard ’19 — who sits at No. 12 in the Ivy individual rankings for the season — finished with nine over par for the weekend, good for top 20. A pair of teammates finished just a stroke behind, as Henry Cassriel ’18 and Eric Hall ’20 both carded 10 over par. The former managed a 70 in the second round to salvage a difficult first round, while the latter is currently the fifth lowest-scoring golfer in the Ivy League. Jake Leffew ’19 rounded out the Eli lineup with 14 over par.
“It was great to get a win under our belts heading into Ivies next weekend, and the win could not have come at a better time,” Wang said. “The goal is to build off of this victory and to use it as momentum for next weekend’s championship. I am especially proud of Will Bernstein, who had been struggling a bit during the beginning of the season but stuck with it and has really elevated his game in the past couple of weeks. Our team has shown extraordinary depth and talent all year long, and we are all excited to prove ourselves on the biggest stage.”
The Elis, who have been the No. 2 team in the Ivy League behind Harvard for much of the season, will look to utilize the momentum gained from this tournament win next weekend at the highly anticipated Ivy championship. The three-day tournament will begin this Friday at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich.