Courtesy of Kevin Wu

After sweeping both its fall and spring invitationals for the second time in school history, the Yale men’s golf team returned home as Ivy League champions. The Bulldogs’ strong performances also earned them a spot in the NCAA Regionals, which took place in mid-May at the Yale Golf Course.

After a 23-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bulldogs started the season with a win in September at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational hosted by Colgate. The men remained consistent across all types of holes and finished as the only team under par after all three rounds with a 15-stroke lead.

“It’s always nice to win the first event of the year and then carry some momentum into the rest of the season, and I know everyone just wants to keep it going,” team captain Teddy Zinsner ’22 said. “We played well [at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational], but I don’t think anyone would say they played their best, so just building off that is probably the main thing.”

At the Doc Gimmler tournament, which was held at the legendary Bethpage Red Course in Farmingdale, New York, the Bulldogs placed fourth despite finishing the first and second rounds in first and second place respectively. Though the Elis showed grit, they eventually fell to their Ivy League opponent, Columbia, in the second round. 

The next challenge for the team was the Hamptons Intercollegiate at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York. Despite the stormy weather conditions, the Bulldogs placed sixth, ahead of eighth-place Pennsylvania and tenth-place Princeton. 

“The Hamptons Intercollegiate was a good ending to a great fall season,” Gabriel Ruiz ’24 said. “Maidstone is always a good test of golf in difficult conditions. I really enjoyed competing for Yale again after our season was canceled last year. Going out to this tournament is always one of the best weeks of our fall season and it felt great to be competing against some of the best teams in the country.”

In October, the squad traveled to the St. Andrew’s Club in Hastings-on-Hudson to play a scrimmage against Columbia in commemoration of 125 years of intercollegiate golf. The Bulldogs fell to the Lions 15–2, though in 1896 it was a different story, as the score was 35–0 in Yale’s favor.

The same weekend, the squad triumphed against Harvard and Princeton at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Briarcliff Manor in two rounds of three-ball, alternating shots. The Columbia scrimmage and the HYP event marked the unofficial end of the golf fall season.

The Yale men's golf team poses for a photo.
The Bulldogs’ dominant performance at the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational set the stage for a successful 2021-2022 season. (Photo: Colin Sheehan, Yale men’s golf head coach)

The Elis opened their spring season by heading down south, where they fell short against Georgia Southern University in a singles match event on Sunday, February 27. According to a Feb. 22 Golfstat report, GSU was then ranked 72nd in the nation, while Yale was ranked 116th. The next week, the Bulldogs traveled to the South once again to compete in the Wake Forest Invitational, where they placed 12th. 

The UC San Diego Invitational took place two weeks later at the La Costa Champions course, and the Bulldogs tied with UC Irvine for sixth.

The Blue and White returned to the Northeast to play the Princeton Invitational at the Springdale Golf Club. With a score of 860, or eight over par, the Bulldogs finished in sixth place. This placement was ahead of Dartmouth (seventh), Cornell (twelfth), Harvard (thirteenth), Penn (fourteenth) and Brown (fifteenth). The first-year Blake Brantley ’25 was the highlight of the day, as he tied for fifth individually with a score of 212, or one under par. 

The Elis made history on April 16 after winning the Yale Invitational, as they swept both their fall and spring invitationals for the second time. With a score of 574, or 14 over par, the Bulldogs triumphed over thirteen other schools at the Yale Golf Course. Two of the squad’s players finished in the top 10. 

“Last weekend was a really great team win,” Brantley said after the Bulldogs’ historic victory. “To have a lot of people come out and support and then go get it done at our home course was a huge confidence boost for us. We’ve been working really hard so to get that little extra bit of momentum going into Ivy’s this weekend is exactly what we needed.”

The men’s golf team maintained its momentum and finished strong at the Ivy League Championship in Purchase, New York. Ranked 167 nationally according to an April 19 Golfstat report, the Bulldogs led the league standings. The squad took the gold on Sunday, April 24 and clinched their 21st conference title in program history. The Elis’ win also earned men’s head coach Colin Sheehan ’97 his second consecutive Ivy Coach of the Year distinction, as well as propelled Ben Carpenter ’25 to his third straight individual title. Yale had last won an Ivy title in 2018. 

“We all have been working hard on our games the past few weeks, and I couldn’t be more proud of our perseverance,” Carpenter said after the championship. “I am humbled to win the individual title, but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my teammates throughout the year. We are all excited for regionals in a couple weeks, especially since they are at Yale.”

As Ivy champions, the varsity men’s golf squad qualified to compete in the NCAA Regionals, hosted at the Yale Golf Course from Monday, May 15 to Wednesday, May 18. The Bulldogs placed 13th.

With an early lead of 292 in the first round of the conference championship, Yale set the stage to earn an overall score of 887, or 35 over par. This meant that the Bulldogs were five ahead of Columbia, the squad which would take the silver.

Carpenter had the best showing of the championship with a score of 218, or five over par. He was followed by Ruiz and Brantley, who both tied for sixth with a score of 222, earning Second-Team All-Ivy distinctions. Other mentions include Darren Lin ’22, who tied for 14th with a score of 226, and Zinsner, who tied for 29th with a score of 239. 

Ruiz was also named Academic All-Ivy, which means that he was not only a starter for the team, but also maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better over the year.

TOIA CONDE RODRIGUES DA CUNHA