At a home tournament at The Course at Yale this past weekend, the Yale men’s golf team finished third behind Minnesota and Ivy nemesis Princeton University.
On Saturday and Sunday, Yale hosted the Macdonald Cup and entertained nearly a dozen other squads. Yale faced off against defending Ivy champion Princeton, Harvard, Penn and Brown, and the Elis ultimately finished six shots behind the Tigers.
“Most of playing in our home tournament, I would say, is beneficial,” captain Teddy Zinsner ’21 said. “It’s nice to be able to not travel and be able to stay on campus. It also definitely gives the benefit of playing your home course, which we all know better than everybody else, whereas when we travel it’s sometimes tough to adjust. That being said, it was a very short week of practice, getting back from the weekday tournament on Tuesday night. Tough to catch up on work and get ready for the weekend tournament at the same time.”
Zinsner had an excellent outing once again and put up just one-over par across his three rounds of play. This was good for a tie for fifth overall individually. Gabe Ruiz ’23 rebounded strongly after a rough showing at last week’s Old Town Club Collegiate Invitational when he shot 13-over par. The first year notched a 10-over-par score cumulatively, knotting him in a five-way tie for 25th overall. Kevin Wu ’22 and Sean Yi ’21 also played quality golf, as each teed up a 12-over-par total and tied for 32nd place.
Paul Stankey ’21 smacked the ball for a solid 15-over par in his three rounds, while Perry Xin ’21 garnered a 16-over-par total. Eric Hall ’21 secured a 20-over-par scoreline. The team’s only senior, Jordan Weitz ’20, put together a 29-over-par performance. Darren Lin ’22 played an excellent first two rounds on Saturday, netting just a three-over performance, but the sophomore was unable to continue on Sunday. The top four scores of the team in each round counted towards the final team score.
The home-course advantage shone bright in the first round. Yale collectively recorded its lowest round total: a one-over-par tally. Zinsner led the way with a beautiful one-under round himself, registering two birdies in both the front and back nines. Yi and Lin started off strong with a pair of par rounds, and Wu contributed to the final score with a smooth two-over-par showcase.
“I think the weekday tournament did make preparations more difficult, as many of us had a lot of school work to catch up on,” Wu said. “It is always tough to miss weekdays when midterm season rolls around … I think we are definitely more comfortable playing at home, and it was very nice to not play golf after a long travel day.”
The Bulldogs slipped a tad in the second round. This time, Ruiz put the team on his shoulders and logged a solid par round, while a trio of Elis — Zinsner, Yi and Xin — each pulled a two-over-par score. All four of these scores added to Yale’s strong play, and the team finished the first day tied in the second slot with Princeton. The teams were 19 shots behind Minnesota, whose lights-out play across all three rounds was nothing short of astonishing.
Then the Sunday scaries arrived. Yale — as well as all other teams in the tournament — fared worse in the third round than they did in the second round, but the drop-off in play particularly affected the Elis. The thick morning fog caused confusion for many players across the teams. Zinsner’s experience on The Course at Yale guided him to a par round, and fellow junior Stankey’s time on the grounds assured him a respectable two-over-par showing.
The younger players, however, suffered under the adverse conditions. Wu maintained a three-over-par score, but Ruiz’s disastrous try at the 10th — a nine-stroke attempt at the par-four hole — helped seal a disappointing day for the Bulldogs. Even with that rough stretch, Ruiz recovered for a commendable seven-over-par score; this was good for fourth on the team for the day, so it counted in final scoring tabulations. The Elis ended the day 12 shots over par and in third place on the team scoreboard behind both Minnesota and Princeton.
“Teddy’s consistency helps us all and his leadership sets an example of how we should all strive for excellence,” Ruiz said. “This being our fourth week in a row, we need to start getting some rest before tournaments… We definitely need to reset.”
The Yale men’s golf team resumes play next Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 7-8, at The Hampton Intercollegiate, hosted by Loyola University Maryland, in East Hampton, New York.
Bentley Long | email@example.com