Yale men’s golf took their best to the Old Town Club Collegiate Invitational in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday, where they finished 12th out of 13 teams.
The Elis put up a valiant effort, but the field was far stronger than the other competitions Yale has played so far this season. After three rounds of play, Yale notched a cumulative 11-over-par score. The team finished six shots ahead of Virginia Tech, who ended up in last place.
“I think we all came off to a pretty slow start,” Kevin Wu ’22 said. “There were definitely some gettable holes out there, and we just had to stay very patient until putts started to drop.”
A second-to-last place finish still did have its highlights. Darren Lin ’22 continued his hot streak and snagged a spot at one-under-par. This was good for a tie for 20th place individually at the invitational. Captain Teddy Zinsner ’21 also performed well, as the team’s leader slid into a tie for 35th place, posting just two-over-par the course of the contest.
Sean Yi ’21 finished only a bit behind Zinsner. He tied for 46th place with a cumulative four-over-par line. Wu and Gabe Ruiz ’23 filled the last two spots of this week’s quintet, with Wu making his first start of the season. Wu slotted in at 54th place with his six-over-score, while Ruiz ended up in 74th after securing a 13-over-par.
The crisp Carolina course couldn’t save the Elis from a rough first round. Collectively, the Bulldogs finished 10 shots-over-par, slotting them in last out of all 13 teams competing. Yale had members of the team finishing one, two, three, four and five-over-par, each, in the first round. Zinsner nabbed the lowest of those marks, followed by Lin, Yi, Wu and Ruiz, in that order. Yi in particular had an 18; he procured five birdies alongside a quartet of bogeys and a pair of double bogeys.
“The golf course was definitely in prime conditions, and we just had to manage the course well,” Wu said. “The wind picked up on Monday afternoon, and we played smart and hung in there with a lot of other teams.”
However, Yale found its footing as the day progressed. In the second round, every player either improved or maintained their score. Lin registered his best round of the invitational with a two-under-par showing, finishing the round with three consecutive birdies to cement his place at the top of the team’s scoreboard. Zinsner also strengthened his play, achieving a one-under-par round for his efforts.
Yi was able to hold on tight for a par score, while Wu fell short on the distinction and recorded just a shot over. Wu did, however, manage the only eagle from any Eli, as he conquered the par five fourth hole in just three shots. Ruiz maintained his five-over-par play in the second round. Collectively, the team tallied a two-under-par score.
“We knew our game was there, we just had to stay patient and keep doing what we’re doing,” Ruiz said. “From this week, we learned that you can’t win a tournament on the first day, but you can lose it. We just have to put together some solid team rounds and we’ll be just fine.”
Tuesday’s third round saw consistency from the team. Lin secured a one-under-par round, while Yi and Wu each racked up a one-over-par round on their scorecards. Zinsner showcased a two-over-par stage, while Ruiz secured his best finish of the contest at three-over-par.
The Bulldogs ended up finishing in 12th place amongst 13 teams, although the team was six shots better than Virginia Tech. Washington finished in first place with a whopping 30-under-par, followed by No. 6 Wake Forest, then Louisville and West Virginia in a third-place tie. Penn State rounded out the invitational’s top five.
“I think Old Town was a great event,” Wu said. “All of us played pretty well, and we are very pumped to get after in on home turf this weekend.”
Yale men’s golf will host the MacDonald Cup this weekend at the Course at Yale, with the first tee-off at 7:10 a.m. on Saturday.
Contact Bentley Long at firstname.lastname@example.org .