Oct. 11, 2008
RIVERHEAD, N.Y. - The Bulldogs won the ECAC Championship by one stroke on Saturday, holding off a charging Columbia. Yale took a seven-stroke lead into the final day and squeaked out a victory as the Lions, last year's Ivy League Champions, came back from a ten-stroke deficit. The Bulldogs shot a round of 301 to finish the tournament at 892. Columbia (893) shot the second-best team round of the tournament at 292, but it was not quite enough to take down Yale. Bucknell finished in third with a score of 896.
"Columbia was tough this final day," said junior Ben Wescoe. "They are a great team. They came back and beat us at Ivies last year, but we edged them out today. It feels great, but we know we have to put in some hard work in the offseason, on and off the course, to get ready for the Ivy League Championship."
Wescoe has reason to feel good this day, as he won his first collegiate tournament. He came into the day two shots behind teammate sophomore Thomas McCarthy, who was tied for the lead. Wescoe had a phenomenal day, shooting a round of 70 (-1) to overtake the lead and finish the tournament with a score of 217 (+4).
"I started off swinging a lot better than I did yesterday," said Wescoe. "We came into today confident and loose. I made some putts early and was able to hang on in the end. I was playing three-under for most of the day but a couple of bogeys down the stretch brought me back to one-under. I'm just happy that the hard work has paid off."
McCarthy shot a 75 (+4) on the final day to finish in a tie for fourth place. He shot 220 (+7) for the tournament, after tying the tournament's low round of 70 on Friday afternoon. Freshman Jeffrey Cartin Hatten and senior captain Colby Moore both carded rounds of 78 (+7) on Saturday. Hatten shot 227 (+14) for the tournament, while Moore scored 231 (+18), They finished in 18th and tied for 30th place, respectively.
"I want to give a shout-out to our freshman Jeff Hatten," said Moore. "This was his first collegiate tournament, and all three of his rounds ended up counting for our score. We were very impressed."
Sophomore Michael Fader finished the day with a score of 80 (+9). He shot rounds of 76 (+5) and 74 (+3) Friday to finish the tournament with a score of 230, and in a tie for 25th place.
The Bulldogs shot decently on Saturday, but it was their play on Friday afternoon that won the tournament for them.
"In the past, the second round of a 36-hole day had been our demise," said Moore. "This year we have really turned it around, and our second 18 has been great. It set us up in a prime position, coming into today, and gave us a comfortable lead. We have not been in a lot of situations where we had a seven- or eight-shot lead, so to be able to hang on is a great feeling and a learning experience."
Wescoe was trailed closely by two Sacred Heart players, Pat Fillian and Matt Belizze, who both finished with rounds of 219 and in a tie for second place. McCarthy tied with Austin Quinten of Columbia for fourth place. Yale's other Ivy League competition in the tournament, Brown, finished in 10th, 42 shots behind the Bulldogs.
"To win as a team, win as an individual, and edge out an Ivy League foe like Columbia, is a dream come true," said Wescoe. "But, we have some unfinished business with Columbia. Beating them today is great, but we want to get them at Ivies."
The Bulldogs will conclude their fall season next weekend at the Barona Cup in El Cajon, Calif. The Tournament will start Oct. 19 and continue through Oct. 21.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity