Oct. 21, 2008
EL CAJON, Calif. - Despite shooting their best team round of the year, the Yale men's golf team finished in 13th at the Sycuan Collegiate Invitational. The Bulldogs were only three-over coming into the final round, but shot 302 to drop them from 11th place into a tie for 13th. Yale finished with a score of 881 (+17), 44 strokes behind the winner Colorado State (837). UC Santa Barbara took second with a score of 838 (-26), with San Diego coming in third at 839 (-25).
All things considered, the Bulldogs played good golf. The tournament featured seven top-100 schools and the Bulldogs managed to beat one of them. Idaho came into the tournament ranked 83rd according to golfstat.com. The Bulldogs were able to edge them out by a stroke as Idaho finished with a score of 882 (+18).
Fresh off his individual win at the ECAC Championships, junior Ben Wescoe showed that he deserved that title. Wescoe shot a tournament score of 217 (+1), which would have put him in the top three of most of Yale's tournaments, but instead placed him in a tie for 46th. Wescoe came into the day -3, after shooting rounds of 71 (-1) and 70 (-2) on Monday. A round of 76 (+4) on Tuesday, however, brought him back over par.
"We knew coming in that this was going to be a tough field," said Wescoe. "We knew we could be competitive, though. It was a solid showing for us, even though we struggled a bit on the last day, with tougher pins and wind."
Not far behind Wescoe was sophomore Thomas McCarthy. McCarthy played steady golf the first two days, shooting two rounds of 72 (E). He finished the tournament tied for 61st with a round of 75 (+3) and an overall score of 219 (+3).
Junior Seve Gonzales finished in a tie for 75th with a tournament score of 222 (+6). Gonzales, like Wescoe and McCarthy, was sitting near or below even going into the final day. He shot rounds of 73 (+1) and 72 (E) on Monday, but closed out the tournament with a 77 (+5).
Senior captain Colby Moore had a solid tournament, shooting rounds of 76 (+4), 74 (+2) and 74 (+2). He finished tied for 86th, with a tournament score of 224 (+8).
Rounding out Yale's team was sophomore Michael Fader who finished the tournament tied for 111th with a tournament score of 235 (+19). Fader's score was hurt by his opening day round of 84 (+12), which pushed his score significantly higher than his second two rounds. Fader shot just seven-over for the last two rounds with scores of 73 (+1) and 78 (+6).
Each Bulldog had at least one round count towards the overall score.
Senior Taylor Hakes competed as an individual for Yale and finished in a tie for 99th place. Hakes came into the final round at just three-over, after shooting rounds of 74 (+2) and 73 (+1), but was hurt by a final round 81 (+9). He finished the tournament with a score of 228 (+12).
Hakes, Wescoe, and Gonzales all got to play in their home state, in front of family and friends.
"It was great playing near home," said Wescoe. "Our families came out to watch, and I got to spend a couple nights at home. Seve and I both hosted the team at our houses for meals. It was a fun trip and a fun homecoming."
The tournament was won by Dustin Garza of Wichita State. He finished the tournament with a score of 200 (-16). Garza shot three straight rounds of under-par golf highlighted by his 61 (-11) on Monday afternoon. Two other players were in negative double-digits. Bryce Hanstad of Colorado State came in second with a score of 204 (-12) and Daniel Wax came of Denver came in third with a score of 205 (-11).
The Sycuan Collegiate turned out to be a shootout, with 74 players shooting at least one round of golf under-par. The top 32 players were under par for the tournament, with 11 more at even. The top eight teams also shot under-par for the tournament with the winner, Colorado State shooting 27-under.
"They put out the easiest pins on the first day, so play would be fast," said Wescoe. "But we also got perfect weather with no wind. 61 was the course record by three strokes. There were some really talented golfers here."
The Bulldogs will head into the offseason now, but will return to action next March at the Reunion Intercollegiate.
"We will be working out really hard to get physically fit, as well as use the Dave Paterson Technology Center to keep our swings sharp," said Wescoe. "We want to come out of the offseason stronger and hitting the ball a little farther. We had a great fall with a win, a second place and two big time tournaments, where we got to play with some of the best teams in the country. We ended the season on a pretty good note, but we still have some unfinished business. There will be a lot of drive this offseason."
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity