Yale Athletics

The Yale men’s golf team looks to cap off its sterling season at the most important event of the 2017–18 men’s golf season— the Ivy League Championship.

Coming off a second-place finish in the Yale Spring Invitational last weekend, the Bulldogs will look to secure a 2018 regional bid to the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship. Having not won the Ivy League Championship since 2011 and placing fourth last year, the Bulldogs hope to break that futile stretch heading into the tournament.

“The team is definitely excited, I know they’ve been working really hard,” head coach Colin Sheehan ’97 said. “The key is staying consistent and being prepared to play three days in a row and keep energy up and focus.”

The Elis have amassed a successful record during their 2017–18 season. In the spring half of the season alone, Yale has triumphed in the Princeton Invitational and finished second last weekend. Eoin Leonard ’19 and James Nicholas ’19 tied for first at the Yale Invitational as well. The Bulldogs now face a quick turnaround in traveling to Elverson, Pennsylvania for the three-day championships.

Leonard, Nicholas, captain Will Bernstein ’18 and Teddy Zinsner ’21 will represent Yale at the esteemed tournament. Bernstein and Leonard, the two championship returnees, finished the last season’s tournament 21st and 14th overall, respectively. Bernstein also took home a third-place finish at the Ivy League Championships during the 2015–16 season.

“Golf is generally an individual sport for much of the year, but here it’s a beautiful thing to play in a team format, when someone plays really well on our team it’s five times more gratifying than doing so in an individual tournament,” Sheehan said. “That collective effort, that camaraderie on the team and shared sacrifice makes it a really terrific experience.”

This weekend marks Nicholas and Zinsner’s premier entrance to the esteemed tournament. Nicholas has posted a linear and upward trajectory his spring season after finishing ninth overall in the Furman Collegiate, second overall at the Princeton Invitational and first at the Yale Spring Invitational. Zinsner enters the Ivy League finale having just tied for seventh overall at the Yale Invitational, along with teammate Paul Stankey ’21.

If Yale prevails this weekend, the squad will have undergone the entire season without suffering a defeat against a fellow Ivy competitor. In order to do so, the Elis aim to maintain their composure throughout the three-day endeavor.

“We will approach it like it’s just another tournament,” Bernstein said. “We must remain focused and committed on each shot.”

The Bulldogs finished fourth at the tournament last season with a 33-over-par total score, coming short of defending champion Harvard, Princeton and Cornell. In the 2015–16 season, Yale finished third overall with a 55-over mark. Bernstein dominated the course, posting a seven-over to attain the third-place title and an All-Ivys honor.

In this year’s tournament, two-time defending champion Harvard will be Yale’s biggest challenger. The Crimson’s lineup includes two returnees, Greg Royston and Aurian Capart, who both contributed to its title successes in recent tournaments.

The tournament kicks off at Stonewall Links on Friday.

Lauren Cueto | lauren.cueto@yale.edu