March 13, 2009
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Yale men's golf team wasted no time getting their 2009 spring season underway. After 36 holes at the Geico Intercollegiate, the Bulldogs are currently in a tie for second-place. Yale (603) is tied with Seton Hall (603), and sits nine strokes behind tournament leader Southern Illinois (594).
"We are in a great position going into tomorrow," said senior captain Colby Moore. "We are only nine shots back and in college golf, that is nothing."
Yale opened the morning in fifth-place with a score of 308 (+20), but only one stroke behind three teams in a tie for second. Senior Taylor Hakes led the Bulldogs in the morning session with a round of 75 (+3), putting him in a tie for tenth place. He was followed by junior Ben Wescoe, who finished the morning in a tie for 20th, after shooting a round of 77 (+5). Moore and sophomore Thomas McCarthy finished the morning with rounds of 78 (+6). They joined together in a tie for 30th. Yale's fifth player, sophomore Michael Fader, struggled in the morning round shooting 85 (+13). His score would not end up counting, due to the scores of Hakes, Wescoe, Moore and McCarthy, but he would get a chance to rebound in the afternoon.
"The last couple of years we have really struggled in the afternoon rounds," said Moore. "Today, we shot 13 shots lower in the afternoon than the morning. That is a big accomplishment for us. One of the things that helped was that the golf course did not move the pin locations between rounds. Players were seeing a lot of the same looks, and they knew how to better read the greens the second time around."
The afternoon session treated the Bulldogs, and most other teams, much more kindly than the morning round. This time, Wescoe led things for the Bulldogs with a round of 73 (+1). Wescoe currently leads all Bulldogs with a two-round score of 150 (+6). He is in a tie for 12th overall heading into the final round. Hakes sits just behind Wescoe with a score of 151 (+7). His second-round score of 76 (+4) was good enough to put him 16th-place all by himself. Moore and McCarthy continued to imitate one another, shooting rounds of 74 (+2). The two are currently in a tie for 17th, with tournament scores of 152 (+8). Fader made an 11-point swing from morning to afternoon, shooting a round of 74 (+2) to put him in a tie for 58th-place. His two-round score is 159 (+15).
"What I am most proud of is shooting under 300 in the second round, after only having played outside on real grass and a real golf course for one week," said Moore. "We've been inside hitting balls into nets for the last four months, so to come out firing like that was great."
Yale also entered five individuals in the tournament. Sophomore Brandon Marick and freshman Jeffrey Hatten led the way for Yale. Marick and Hatten shot two-round totals of 156 (+12), and currently sit in a tie for 39th. Marick shot rounds of 80 (+8) and 76 (+4), while Hatten shot rounds of 82 (+10) and 74 (+2). Freshman Zachary Plutzik is holding strong in a tie for 52nd on the back of rounds of 76 (+4) and 82 (+10). His two-round total is 158 (+14). Junior Seve Gonzales and senior Thomas Ginakakis round out Yale's team in 81st and a tie for 87th, respectively. Gonzales shot rounds of 86 (+14) and 82 (+10) for a total of 168 (+24). Ginakakis finished with a total of 171 (+27) with rounds of 89 (+17) and 82 (+10).
The Bulldogs might very well have been in the lead if it were not for Todd Obergoenner of Southern Illinois. After shooting a round of 82 (+10) in the morning, he came firing back in the afternoon, breaking the course record with a round of 65 (-7). The Salukis owe their nine stroke lead in large part to Obergoenner, whose round of 65 was six shots lower than any other round so far. Tom Hayes from the Savannah College of Art and Design leads the tournament with rounds of 72 (E) and 74 (+2) for a total of 146 (+2). He is competing as individual.
For the Bulldogs to catch Southern Illinois, it is going to take some birdies from Yale, and hopefully a few bogies from the Salukis.
"Tomorrow we need to take advantage of the par 5s and card more birdies," said Moore. "The par fives are pretty short here, and the course in general favors accuracy over distance. We should be able to capitalize."
The Bulldogs will have one more round Saturday to try and win their first tournament of the spring.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity