Building on its positive momentum from the Doc Gimmler tournament the previous week, the Yale men’s golf team claimed victory at the Cornell Invitational in Ithaca, N.Y., over the weekend, finishing the 54-hole event with a massive 24-stroke lead.
Eoin Leonard ’19 led the Bulldogs with a six-under 207 in his three rounds, winning the tournament by two strokes over Dartmouth’s Mark Turner. The team did not count a single score over 72 for any day of the event, demonstrating the depth of Yale’s roster. The tournament is the second in a row the Elis have won, after James Nicholas ’19 won the Doc Gimmler last week.
“The team had an incredibly successful tournament this week,” Matt Smith ’19 said. “In addition to an individual and team win, to have three players finish in the top 10 and all five starters contribute scores in such a dominant performance really speaks to the strength of the team this year.”
Leonard was the story of the weekend, winning his first event of the regular season. After beginning the tournament with an even-par 71, he rocketed to the top of the leaderboard with a five-under 66 before finishing with a one-under 70.
Leonard said his success at the Irish Open and U.S. Amateur this past summer gave him extra confidence as he entered his final year of collegiate golf.
“The team performed extremely well, and it was great to be a part of what ended up being a very comfortable victory,” Leonard said. “Everyone on the team played well and contributed, making it a true team win, which always makes it more enjoyable.”
Sean Yi ’21 set the pace for the field on Saturday with a stellar six-under 65, the lowest score of any player during the tournament. Although he struggled over his next two rounds, he finished with a 77 to stay among the top 20 players in the tournament.
Just one week after notching his first win of the season, Nicholas maintained his high caliber of play, finishing fifth overall. His play over the three rounds was marked by its consistency, as he shot 71-69-70 for a final score of 210.
“We’ve got a great team and are excited to play against some of the best teams in the country,” Nicholas said. “If we all play our games [to our full potential], we can finish really high up in the field.
Recovering from the flu that took him out of contention last weekend, Darren Lin ’22 returned to the course in excellent form. After finishing his first round with a four-over 75, Lin fired back-to-back 72s, which he said gives him confidence heading into the season.
Following his win last week at the Ryan T. Lee Memorial Collegiate, Smith competed as an individual at the invitational. While his performance did not contribute to the team’s composite score, the tournament marks his second time playing with Yale’s varsity squad.
“While it wasn’t the result I was hoping for, it was still a great learning experience,” Smith said. “I’m looking forward to using the lessons from this past weekend to improve as the season progresses.”
Of the 14 teams competing against Yale, four were Ancient Eight rivals — Dartmouth, Penn, Cornell and Columbia. Dartmouth finished in second with a team score of 869, 24 strokes behind the Bulldogs. Yale beat its other Ivy rivals by even larger margins, which bodes well for the Ivy championship in the spring.
The Bulldogs have one more away tournament in North Carolina before the Macdonald Cup at Yale Golf Course on Sept. 29–30, where the team hopes to defend its title after winning in 2017.
The team will compete next weekend at the Old Town Club Collegiate Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C. on Sept. 24–25.
Alex Reedy | firstname.lastname@example.org