The Yale men’s golf team kicked off their regular season this weekend at the two-day Doc Gimmler tournament with an impressive second-place showing led by captain James Nicholas ’19, who claimed his first tournament victory of the year.
The team score of 844 was just three strokes behind that of Rhode Island, which took the cup, and 30 strokes more than Harvard’s 874, the only other Ancient Eight rival in the field. Despite some trouble during the first round, the final round score of 278 was the lowest among all teams. Nicholas, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, is the fourth Eli to win the event in the past six years. His fellow senior on the team, Eoin Leonard ’19, secured the title last year.
“It was a great start to the season,” Nicholas said. “We had a tough start to the season but managed to battle back to a T-2 finish.”
Nicholas played to his full potential throughout the tournament with a 70–67–66, finishing one stroke ahead of St. John’s Gerald Mackedon to secure the win.
Teddy Zinsner ’21 recorded Yale’s second best score and the fourth best of the entire tournament; unfortunately for the Elis, his score did not contribute to the team’s five-man scorecard due to competing as an individual.
Improving upon his fifth-place finish last year, Sean Yi ’21 placed 11th at the Doc Gimmler. After a three-over opening round of 73, Yi shot back-to-back 69s to come up short of a top-10 finish.
“I played alright, [but] one bad swing cost me a few shots,” Yi said. “I need to sharpen a few things, but for the most part my game was solid.”
Close behind were Leonard and Paul Stankey ’21, who tied for 41th place with a cumulative score of 219. Although unable to match last year’s victory, Leonard had a good weekend nonetheless, with scores of 76–70–73.
Stankey stumbled during his first round and finished nine-over par with a score of 79, but played solid golf for the remainder of the tournament, scoring two even-par 70s.
“It was a solid start to the year,” Leonard said. “It’s always good to be challenging for the win coming down the stretch.”
Stankey said that while he had a rough stretch on the back nine during his first round, his performance over his next two rounds gave him confidence for next weekend.
The only newcomer who competed for the Bulldogs, Darren Lin ’22 notched a superb one-over par with a 71 for his first-round score. Unfortunately, he came down with the flu the following day, which prevented him from finishing the tournament.
“Darren really wanted to compete, but he just got sick at the wrong time,” Stankey said.
At Hops Meadow Country Club, located in Simsbury, Connecticut, an additional group of Bulldogs competed in the Ryan T. Lee Memorial Collegiate tournament, where Yale finished fifth out of 13 teams. While Connecticut rival Sacred Heart claimed victory, the Elis finished 25 strokes ahead of Penn, the only other Ivy League team in the tournament. The event was highlighted by a one-under 143 scored by Matt Smith ’19, who competed in his first collegiate action after walking onto the team as a senior, to tie for first place. Meanwhile, teammate Jordan Weitz ’20 scored three-over with a 147, which landed him a seventh-place finish.
The Doc Gimmler is the first of three away tournaments before the team plays in the Macdonald Cup at the Yale Golf Course on Sept. 29–30, an event in which the Bulldogs have traditionally competed fiercely. Two years ago, Li Wang ’17 notched an NCAA record with a 60 in the second round of the tournament. The following fall in 2017, Yale won the tournament by a single stroke for the first time since 2014.
The Bulldogs resume their regular season next weekend at the Cornell Invitational held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Ithaca, New York on Sept. 15–16.
Alex Reedy | firstname.lastname@example.org