Seeking At-Large Bid
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Although the Yale men's golf team missed out on an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional, the Bulldogs' strong season record may earn them an at-large bid to the tournament. Qualifiers will be announced live on May 5 from 10-11 a.m. during Morning Drive, Golf Channel's daily morning news and lifestyle show, and available online shortly thereafter.
The Bulldogs finished in second place, behind Columbia, at this past weekend's Ivy League Championship. Based on that result, the Lions earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Regional contest.
But the Elis' may yet extend their season with an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs finished the regular season as the highest ranked team in the Ivy League, at No. 71. Indeed, no Ancient Eight team has finished in a higher spot since the NCAA tournament moved to a six Regional format.
"Teams cannot be any higher than No. 75—an echelon that's very difficult to achieve playing exclusively in the northeast," explained head coach Colin Sheehan '97. "However, we used our dates of competition with a more much ambitious 'strength of schedule' in mind. We are now very much in the conversation for an at-large bid."
Yale's 2013-14 season included victories at The Doc Gimmler and the Ivy League Match Play and second-place finishes at the Macdonald Cup, the Met Intercollegiate, the Princeton Invitational and the Ivy League Championship. The Elis finished in no lower than second place at a northeast tournament and finished 10th among a nationally-ranked field at the Linger Longer Invitational.
The Bulldogs' record reflects the strength of their season: their fall record was 37-4 while their April record was 31-4. All together, Yale posted a 73-18 record for the season, which included a 5-10 record at the Linger Longer Invitational; that performance included just five losses to teams ranked above No. 50 and just three to teams in the northeast and Ivy League. The Elis also had the highest-ranked golfers in the Ivy League: senior captain Sam Bernstein, who shared Ivy League Player of the Year honors, was the highest ranked by Golfweek (No. 306), while junior captain-elect William Davenport was the highest ranked on Golfstat (No. 210).
Based on past precedent, Yale's ranking and performance puts it squarely in contention for an at-large bid. Last season, several similar-ranked teams earned at-large bids: Georgia Southern (No. 63), Ball State (No. 64), Arizona (No. 68), Indiana (No. 75) and San Diego (No. 76). Ball State advanced through the Regionals to the National Championship. In 2012, Charlotte (No. 75) and Ohio State (No. 79) both received at-large bids, while in 2011, Lamar (No. 71) was given a bid.
"We are going to keep our fingers crossed and maybe get sent to the Auburn University Club in Alabama, the Club at Old Hawthorne in Missouri, the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in North Carolina, Rich Harvest Farms in Illinois, Eugene Country Club in Oregon, or Briggs Ranch in Texas," Sheehan said. "If this team went to Regionals firing on all cylinders, they have the talent to make a run at advancing to Nationals."
"Either way, 2013-14 should certainly be remembered as a year of great accomplishment for the Yale golf team," Sheehan said.
For more information on the NCAA's announcement of the tournament field, see here.
Report filed by James Lu '14, Yale Sports Publicity.