GOLF | Yale teams tee off to strong seasonLeave a Comment
A stellar start to the season for the men’s golf team Monday and Tuesday was eclipsed only by the even stronger performance of the women’s golf team over the weekend.
The women’s team opened its season with a 15-stroke win at the Dartmouth Invitational Tournament. Shreya Ghei ’15 capped off the weekend by winning the individual title with a one-under par 143 over the two days of the tournament. The men carried the momentum of the women’s team the next two days and took second at the Adams Cup in Newport, R.I.
“The team played really well,” Sam Bernstein ’14 said. “The conditions were tough — it was windy both days and both courses were pretty firm and fast. But we played really solid golf, and our top four guys showed that we can be competitive not only with schools across the country but with schools in the Ivy League.”
Bernstein led the Elis to an overall score of +23 over the three rounds of the tournament, which left them only a single stroke behind No. 22 University of Central Florida, who took first place in the tournament. The junior played consistent, opportunistic golf over the weekend for an even par performance that landed him the individual championship. Close on his heels was Joe Willis ’16, who finished second at +3 in his Yale debut.
Despite his inexperience and the large footprints that Yale freshmen have left over the past few seasons — both Bernstein and Will Davenport ’15 won the Ivy League Rookie of the Year award over the past two seasons — Willis said that he was unaffected by the pressure.
“I was a little bit nervous just as with any tournament on the first tee, but once the round got started the nerves weren’t an issue,” Willis said. “I just kept the ball in play. I hit it pretty solid, and I made a few putts.”
The men’s individual and team successes capped off a strong showing for the Elis that began three days earlier with the women’s team. The Bulldogs led Boston University by two strokes after the first day of competition and never relinquished that lead. The Elis were undaunted by the task of playing with the lead and dropped their team score to 295 on the second day of competition, leaving BU in the dust.
The Bulldogs’ second-day 295 approached the team’s target of 288 — even par for the top four players — that head coach Chawwadee Rompothong ’00 set for the team at the beginning of the year.
“Our team low is 292 and we want to break that,” Rompothong said. “We want to focus on what we can control rather than what other teams do. Our average was 310 last year and a score lower than 300 is great. It’s important that we keep getting closer every time we compete, and it’s nice to focus on something else we can control.”
The Yale women were led by strong individual performances from Ghei and Sun Gyoung Park ’14, both of whom set personal records over the weekend, according to Rompothong. Park finished tied for third and three more Yalies, Marika Liu ’15, Caroline Rouse ’15 and Seo Hee Moon ’14 finished in the top nine for the tournament.
Ghei won her individual title with consistent rounds of 71 and 72 and edged BU’s Kristyna Pavlickova by two strokes. The sophomore said that her putting gave her the advantage this weekend.
“I putted really well, which was important because all of last year I wasn’t putting as well,” Ghei said. “I wasn’t holing shots from all over the course but I sank a lot of putts when I had the chance.”
While the Dartmouth course that Ghei and her teammates faced was like a “miniature Yale” according to Rompothong, the men faced a much more unfamiliar environment in Newport.
The first two rounds of the tournament were played at the Newport Country Club, wich Bernstein described as a windy, links-style course. The final round was played at Carnegie Abbey.
Both teams will return to familiar environs for their next matches, however. The women will contest the Yale Intercollegiate Tournament on their home course this weekend and the following weekend the men will play in the Macdonald Cup at the Course at Yale as well.
“We’re going to be working hard in practice for our home tournament next weekend. We definitely want to play well,” Willis said. “Our focus is to try to win our home tournament.”
Correction: Sept. 19
A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to the Macdonald Cup, a golf tournament at Yale, as the MacArthur Cup.