Bulldogs Take Home Team Trophy
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Junior Thomas McCarthy took home the individual trophy on Sunday at the Macdonald Cup and led Yale back from a seven shot deficit to claim the team trophy. McCarthy was joined atop the leaderboard by senior captain Ben Wescoe, who finished just one shot back in second place. Four Yale players had rounds of even-par or lower and in total there were six Bulldog rounds under-par. It was not easy, though, as Yale (842) had to defeat Iowa State (845), St. Edwards (851) and URI (852) amongst others to claim its first ever Macdonald Cup. Ivy League rivals Harvard and Dartmouth were 22 and 29 shots behind Yale, respectively.
"This is really the biggest win in program history since the 2004 Ivy League Championship," said Wescoe. "We've never won it before; we shot record low scores, and we played against some big-time schools. Iowa State is from the Big 12 and ranked No. 56 in the country. URI is traditionally one of the best teams in the northeast and St. Edwards is a top DII school from Texas. It's just really special to get this win."
The Bulldogs began Sunday without a clear picture of where they stood. Saturday's second round was interrupted by rain, and while four of the five Yale players finished their second rounds, most of the other teams did not.
"The rain didn't really affect us," said McCarthy. "Even though we almost entirely finished our second round, everyone had to start at the same time on Sunday morning."
The Bulldogs were six shots behind Rhode Island after the first round and seven shots behind Iowa State after the second. Wescoe was the only Yale player not to finish his second round on Saturday. He opened Sunday morning with a par on the 18th and the Bulldogs were off.
"I didn't know where everything stood when I teed off Sunday morning," said McCarthy. "It wasn't until I got to the ninth tee that I learned we were seven back after the first two rounds. I think it made it a little easier not knowing where we stood. I had no idea I was individually in the lead and it allowed me to play like it was the first round with no pressure."
The Bulldogs were not about to lose on their home course. McCarthy and Wescoe took it upon themselves to make sure of that. Both players were disappointed in their performances at last week's Dartmouth Invitational. Last week's efforts were led by freshmen Brad Kushern and Carson Weinard. This week, McCarthy and Wescoe took the opportunity to step up and lead the team.
"I think on your home course you are always more comfortable," said McCarthy. "I know I was pretty upset with how I played last week, and I know Ben was too. We took it upon ourselves to actually play well and lead the team like we are supposed to."
There were low scores to be found on Sunday as almost every team recorded a round of even-par or under in the second and third rounds.
"The pins were pretty accessible on Saturday," said McCarthy. "You could hit a lot of shots and the greens were really soft. Sunday's pins were a bit harder but you could still hit it offline and the ball would stick on the greens."
It was Wescoe who really took advantage on Sunday afternoon and got on a roll.
"My putting really got going in the afternoon," said Wescoe. "My parents and brother were watching, so I got some really nice support and a few ovations throughout the round."
"I kept hearing roars behind me," said McCarthy. "I knew Ben was playing well. It always helps when you know somebody else on the team is playing well. It keeps you going. Though it was a bit like playing in front of Tiger Woods because I had to step off a shot or two when the roars would come up."
Wescoe finished with a final round of 66 (-4), his career low for The Course at Yale. He shot rounds of 71 (+1), 68 (-2) and 66 (-4) to finish with a total score of 205 (-5). He came up just one shot short of McCarthy and almost forced a play-off.
"I never really thought about the scores because I had no idea what was going on," said Wescoe. "I knew Tom was playing well and I wanted to chase him down. Turns out I had a short birdie putt on the 18th which would have tied him and forced a playoff, but I couldn't get it to drop."
McCarthy ended up alone in first place after leading the Bulldogs with three straight rounds under par. He opened the tournament with a round of 69 (-1), only to follow it up with a staggering 66 (-4) and close out the tournament with a final round of 69 (-1). In total, McCarthy shot a tournament score of 204 (-6).
"This is Tom's first collegiate victory and there is no one that deserves it more than him," said Wescoe. "I'm really proud of him."
This was far from a two man show, however. McCarthy and Wescoe got strong support from their teammates, junior Brandon Marick and freshmen Brad Kushner and Carson Weinand. Marick had two rounds of even-par or better. He opened the tournament with a round of 70 (E) and closed with a round of 69 (-1). In between he fired a 75 (+5) which totaled to a round of 214 (+4). He finished in a tie for 14th. Kushner and Weinand were playing in their second collegiate tournament and coming off a strong showing at the Dartmouth Invitational. Kushner finished in a tie for 49th after shooting a total of 223 (+13). He shot rounds of 79 (+9), 74 (+4) and 70 (E). Weinand finished in a tie for 51st with a three-round total of 224 (+14). He shot rounds of 77 (+7), 73 (+3) and 74 (+4).
Yale also entered a second team in the tournament which found success of its own. As a team Yale II finished in thirteenth with a score of 891, but there were some strong individual performances. Sophomore Jeff Hatten finished in a tie for 17th after shooting a total of 215 (+5). He opened the tournament with an even-par round of 70. He followed it up with rounds of 71 (+1) and 74 (+4). Senior Seve Gonzales finished in a tie for 41st, after shooting rounds of 72 (+2), 76 (+6) and 72 (+2). He finished with a total score of 220 (+10). Freshman Russell Holmes put together three nice rounds for Yale II, finishing in a tie for 56th with a total score of 226 (+16). He shot rounds of 75 (+5), 78 (+8) and 73 (+3). Junior Michael Fader and sophomore Zach Plutzik rounded out Yale's second team. Fader finished in a tie for 63rd, while Plutzik finished in 73rd. Fader shot a total score of 230 (+20) with rounds of 77 (+7), 80 (+10) and 73 (+3). Plutzik finished strongly Sunday with a round of 75 (+5) but struggled on Saturday with rounds of 83 (+13) and (+12). He finished with a total of 240 (+30).
"We knew it was going to be a special weekend coming," said Wescoe. "There were lots of parents in town and it's always nice when you get to play at home. Ironically, this is the first year that Coach Paterson was not in attendance or coaching. He was unable to make it up to watch, so we want to dedicate this win to him."
The Bulldogs will only have a few days of rest before they head to Philadelphia for the The Big Five tournament which will take place over Oct. 10-11. The Bulldogs will not be resting on their laurels, though.
"Consistency is our big thing going forward," said McCarthy. "Last week, we didn't play as well and we still came in second which shows how much talent we have. But if we can play well consistently then you get weekends like this one. We are going to celebrate tonight, but then forget about it and move on to next week."
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity