Bulldogs Roll into Ivy Championship

April 17, 2007

The Yale men's golf team will travel to Hamburg, N.J., this weekend to compete in the Ivy League Championship at the Ballyowen Golf Club. The Bulldogs have played their best golf as of late and are poised to make a run at the title in what should be one of the closest Ivy tournaments in recent memory.

"The Ivy League is very competitive this year," said captain Mark Matza. "It's great to be going into it with so much confidence."

The Bulldogs have finished in the top four in each of their last four tournaments. Their run has included a third-place finish at the Yale Spring Opener and a second-place trophy at last weekend's New England Division I Championship.

But there is no first-place finish on their schedule, something the team knows very well.

"We have come close to tasting victory but have not gotten that elusive win," said Colby Moore. "We are still hungry for a victory and winning Ivies was our goal at the start of the season."

There's a good chance they'll do it. The Bulldogs have an 11-1 record in the Ivy League this spring. The University of Pennsylvania is the only Ivy team to beat Yale this spring, as the Quakers won the George Washington Invitational in late March.

But that doesn't mean the Bulldogs can relax.

The tournament is wide open and Princeton has claimed the Ivy crown five of the last six years. The Tigers' streak was interrupted when the Bulldogs claimed the title in 2003, the last time Yale won the event.

Last year, the Bulldogs had a disappointing Ivy tournament despite some impressive individual performances. Matza tied for sixth place and Moore took 12th, although Yale finished in fifth as a team.

There is hope this year will be different. Although the team is young, all the players agree they have the poise to win a championship.

"It is an unbelievable feeling having the success we have had this spring with such a young team," said Matza. "The top guys have really come through, and we hope to finish the season off on a high note."

Matza has been the team's leader all season. The senior has four top-ten finishes this year, including a second place trophy at the George Washington Invitational. He also took third place in the CCSU Invitational, the first event of the year.

Moore has three top-ten finishes, including a third-place finish at the Yale Spring Opener. He also tied for second place at the Lacrosse Homes Collegiate Invitational.

Freshman Ben Wescoe has made an immediate impact and has been instrumental in the team's recent success. The La Jolla, Calif., native has finished in top 15 five times this season and tied for 8th at the CCSU Invitational.

Taylor Hakes has been a consistent golfer all season. The sophomore recently had his best performance of the year, tying for fifth place last weekend at the New England D-I Championship.

Andrew Denenberg has been Yale's fifth golfer in the last two tournaments. The junior tied for 45th at last weekend's tournament. Joe Hernandez and Joseph Potter have also scored well for the Bulldogs all year.

"If the putts fall and we all continue to play the way we have been playing this season, we will have a very good shot at winning," said Matza. "But golf is a fickle game, and all you can really control are your emotions and attitudes on the golf course. If we keep those in check, we will hopefully do very well."

Report filed by Alex Kleiner '08, Yale Sports Publicity