May 20, 2004
New Haven, CT - Led by a 76 from freshman Mark Matza (Southbury, CT), Yale shot a 311 on the first day of the NCAA East Regional Thursday at The Course at Yale. That left the Bulldogs in 25th with two rounds left to be played. No. 1 Florida (286) is in the lead, followed by No. 3 Georgia (287). URI's Kenneth Fahey and Wake Forest's Bill Haas had the top individual scores at 67.
Tee times were delayed for an hour in the morning due to fog. The Bulldogs started on 10, and Matza birdied on 11 to help Yale to an early lead among the 12 schools on the course first. Sophomore Rick Reissman (Suffern, NY) added a birdie on 15. But while junior Andrew Vitt (Winnetka, IL) added another birdie on 16, the last three holes of the back nine were not kind to the Elis. They combined for six bogies and one double-bogey to go nine over par.
Back-to-back birdies by Jason Shin (Bethesda, MD) on one and two helped on the front nine, but overall the Bulldogs continued to struggle. At five over par heading into the final three holes, Steve Gray (Lee's Summit, MO) was Yale's leader, but two bogeys and a double-bogey pushed him back in the pack. Matza finished strong, including a birdie on seven. His 76 tied him for 72nd overall on a day where many players struggled -- including a 13 on the par-5 16th hole by an LIU-Brooklyn player in Matza's threesome.
"It was a difficult course today," noted Yale head coach Dave Paterson. "The warm breeze speeded up the greens and made it quite a test."
Yale tees off again Friday at 12:36 on the first hole, with Matza to be followed by Shin, Reissman, Vitt and Gray. Paterson will look for his team to improve on Thursday's performance.
"I thought we were a little tight," he said. "We just have to relax. This course requires keeping the ball in play, so we'll have to do that tomorrow."
The top 10 teams from the East Regional will advance to the NCAA Championship June 1-4 at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity Department