In its first home tournament since September, the Yale men’s golf team finished first out of 12 teams at the Yale Spring Invitational to win its second title in as many weeks.
Led by captain James Nicholas ’19, who posted a second-place finish overall, the Bulldogs overcame a shaky start to the day to ultimately clinch a team victory at The Course at Yale. After concluding the opening round tied for fourth with Harvard, Yale recorded the lowest score by three tallies in the second round, besting Bucknell and Ivy opponents Brown, Harvard and Penn with a total team score of 711.
“I think we just had to be patient,” Paul Stankey ’21. “I don’t think we played terribly in the morning, but nobody got anything going. I think it just took us a little more time than usual to find our rhythm and start making birdies. The sense of urgency after the first round definitely helped with that, too.”
Nicholas echoed his teammate’s sentiments, adding that while he did not think the squad became complacent, they made mistakes individually that put them behind when the leaderboards came out at the conclusion of the first round. Still, the 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year displayed consistency throughout both rounds, and finished just two strokes back from Siena’s Jack Brown.
The Scarsdale, New York, native also tallied the most birdies of any player and bogied just a single hole to finish four under on the day. Behind Nicholas for Yale was rookie Darren Lin ’22, who tied for sixth place. Lin finished exactly even, shooting 140 over 18 holes and contributing two birdies to hand Yale the most of any squad on the course while also recording his highest team finish this spring.
“Individually, I didn’t play as well as I wanted to,” Nicholas said. “I was struggling with my game the whole day. That being said, it was nice to finish in second even knowing that I didn’t have my A game. It’s kind of reassuring that I know my game is close because I was able to go out there and shoot some good numbers even though I didn’t hit the ball as well as I wanted to, and I was still able to score.”
Shooting the Bulldogs’ third lowest score of the day, Stankey tied for eighth place overall. Two over par on hole 14, the sophomore birdied the following three holes to improve his overall place and finish just one stroke over par. Rounding out the top five for Yale was fellow sophomore Teddy Zinsner ’21, who landed himself a top-20 finish, tying for 18th with Harvard’s Rij Patel and two others. Eoin Leonard ’19 and Jordan Weitz ’20 also competed for Yale’s winning squad.
Yale’s B squad, led by first year Kevin Wu ’22, also held their own in a talented field. Wu finished tied for 18th alongside teammate Zinsner, while Sean Yi ’21 and Perry Xin ’21 both ended the day placing in the top 30. Overall, the team placed ninth out of 12 after moving up two places in the second round.
After consecutive team wins at the Princeton Invitational and this weekend’s Yale Spring Invitational, the Bulldogs will return to New Jersey for the Ivy League championship on April 19, 20 and 21. Hosted in Egg Harbor Township, the tournament, which features all of the Ancient Eight squads, will be the second time this season the conference opponents will all tee off against each other. Following Yale’s win last weekend, the Elis have one week of practice to prepare for the final team tournament of the season.
“I think we just need to do a little fine tuning this week and hopefully we’ll play some good golf,” Stankey said. “We have a really good squad and we’re coming in with a lot of confidence in our games. A lot of the other teams in the Ivy League are playing well right now, so we really need to make sure we’re ready to play.”
The first golf Ivy League championship was held in 1928.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org