Courtesy of Don Clark

In its penultimate tournament of the regular season, the Yale men’s golf team finished a school-record 23 strokes under par to give the Elis first place out of 13 teams in the Princeton Invitational.

Paul Stankey ’21 and Teddy Zinsner ’21, who shot 11-under and 9-under respectively, led the Bulldogs to victory with the best scores in the entire tournament. The Elis overcame host Princeton, Penn, Cornell, Harvard, Brown and Columbia on the way to their seventh win at the invitational in the past 11 years.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the year that Teddy Zinsner’s having as a sophomore, and the breakout performance from Paul,” coach Colin Sheehan said. “[Paul] has been trending in a positive direction for a while, and it was beautiful to see it all come together and for him to get his first college win.”

Stankey had his most successful weekend on the course this season. Although he tees off fifth for the Elis, he led the Bulldogs and the entire Princeton Invitational with his winning score of 202.

On the first day, a six-under round by Zinsner helped Yale take the lead. Stankey scored a one-under, and captain James Nicholas ’19 was the third-best Eli at even par. But the second round was all Stankey, as his seven-under round of 64 propelled the Bulldogs further into the lead. Nicholas posted a three-under round, and Zinsner and Eoin Leonard ’19 both had two-under rounds. On the final day, Stankey and Nicholas put up rounds of 68, while Zinsner had a one-under 70.

“I felt like I did the little things right. I took advantage of my good shots, and I minimized what I did wrong,” Stankey said. “Whenever I had an eight or ten-footer for birdie, I didn’t make all of them, but I made enough where I kept my momentum going. You kind of black out on weekends like that, you don’t quite know what you do, but it was definitely a ton of fun.”

The rest of the Bulldogs excelled as well. The two seniors on the team rounded out the Elis’ top four. Nicholas finished six-under for sixth place, and Leonard was four-over at the end of the tournament. With a team score of 829, 23-below par, the Elis beat second-place Penn by a whopping 14 strokes.

Before the Bulldogs compete in the upcoming Ivy League Championship in a week and a half, they will host this weekend’s Yale Invitational at The Course at Yale.

“It’ll be nice to play at our home course, a place that everyone’s super comfortable with. We don’t have to travel much,” Zinsner said. “I think everyone feels good about their individual games, but I also think that we can’t get ahead of ourselves at all. We have this weekend first, we will worry about Ivies next week. We will try to build some momentum this week and to carry that into Ivies.”

This weekend is a unique opportunity for the Bulldogs. It is their only home match of the spring season, and Yale will provide buses for fans to support their fellow Elis. Yet the golfers also get to join in on the fun. On Saturday, there will be a special treat: coach Colin Sheehan elected to place the ninth-hole pin location in the iconic swale of the green. This means that there is an increased likelihood of a hole-in-one, which the players look forward to attempting.

“The famous ninth hole at Yale, it has a famous swale feature in the green,” Sheehan said. “For years, the kids have been pestering me to have a pin located in the swale, and I’ve always resisted. I finally made a deal with them: if they won the Princeton Invitational, I’d let them have their wish, and we’ll put the hole in the swale on the green
on nine.”

The Bulldogs will play in the Yale Spring Invitational this Saturday, April 13, at The Course at Yale. The following weekend, the Bulldogs will compete in the Ivy League Championship at Hidden Creek in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.

Reese Koppel |reese.koppel@yale.edu