Oct. 16, 2008
EL CAJON, Calif. - The Bulldogs head to California this weekend to finish what has turned out to be a very successful fall season. The Bulldogs will participate in the Sycuan Collegiate hosted by the Aztecs of San Diego State. The tournament will begin on Monday, Oct. 20 and conclude the following day Tuesday, Oct 21.
The Bulldogs will be led this week by senior captain Colby Moore, junior Ben Wescoe, sophomore Thomas McCarthy, sophomore Michael Fader and junior Seve Gonzales. Senior Taylor Hakes will also be competing as an individual. McCarthy currently leads or is tied for the lead in every significant scoring category on the team. He is averaging rounds of 72.6 and shooting only 1.8 strokes over par per round on average. He and Moore are tied for the team's lowest round this year, as they both shot 68 in the second round of the Macdonald Cup. Yale is taking its most battle-tested players, as Moore, Wescoe, McCarthy and Fader are the only players on the team to have played in all three tournaments this fall.
HOME SWEET HOME
Three Yale golfers will be playing in their home state this weekend. Gonzales is from La Messa, Calif., where he attended Grossmont High School. Hakes is from Coronado, Calif., where he attended Coronado High School. Wescoe is from La Jolla, Calif., where he attended La Jolla High School.
"Three of the players I'm taking are from the San Diego area, so it's like a homecoming for them and their families who don't get many opportunities to watch their sons compete," said Coach Colin Sheehan.
Like the Gopher Invitational, which opened the Bulldogs' season, the Sycuan Collegiate will feature teams the Bulldogs do not normally compete against, as well as tougher competition than what they normally see. The invitational will consist of a 22-team field that will include eight top 100 teams, according to Golfstat's rankings. The teams will be:
Arizona State, however, will only be sending individuals, as opposed to a full team.
The tournament is being played on the Willows Glen Golf Course in El Cajon, Calif. The 18-hole course features 6,605 yards of golf for par of 72. The course was designed by Ted Robinson and opened in 1967. Robinson has designed over 160 projects across the world and served as president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects from 1983-84. Robinson had courses among the top five in Washington, Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii. His most beloved course was Sahalee in Redmond, Wash., site of the 1998 PGA Championship.
Willow Glen becomes a very difficult course for those who do not keep their ball in the fairways. Many fairways are flanked by pines, oaks and cottonwoods that help to shape the landing zones and doglegs. In total, there are 45 sand bunkers and water on six holes. All of this combines for a very difficult 18 holes of golf.
The Bulldogs took part in the Sycuan Collegiate last season and finished in 11th place. They shot a team round of 921 (+57), 37 shots behind first place. The tournament was won by Wichita State (884), which was ranked in the top 50 last year. The tournament hosts, San Diego State (890) took second, six shots behind the Shockers. McCarthy led the Bulldogs last year, tying for seventh with three other players. He shot rounds of 74 (+2), 76 (+4) and 72 (E), for a tournament score of 222 (+6). Moore came in a tie for 45th, Hakes in a tie for 57th, Wescoe in a tie for 78th and sophomore Brandon Marick in 97th.
The Bulldogs will head into the Sycuan Collegiate with a huge surge of momentum behind them after winning the ECAC Championship last weekend at Riverhead, N.Y., at the Long Island National Golf Course. The team took home the championship trophy and Wescoe took home the individual trophy. The big story line of the weekend was Yale's chance to take on last year's Ivy League Champions, Columbia. The Bulldogs came out firing on day one. After a slow start in the first 18 holes on Friday, they shot the lowest team round of the tournament in the afternoon. They were able to hang on Saturday to defeat Columbia, and everyone else in the tournament, to take home first place.
Since the tournament's inception in 1960, Yale had only had two victories at the ECAC Championship entering last weekend's competition. In the inaugural year, on Yale's own course, Frost Walker took first, shooting a round of 70. The only other Yale victory came in 1974, when the team tied with UMass for first place. The most recent Ivy medalist was Princeton's Ben McConahey in 1995, and the most recent Ivy team to win was Harvard in 1994. After 13 years of Ivy League drought, Yale has rewritten the record books.
FIT TO A T(EE)
The Bulldogs have scheduled a visit to the headquarters of Callaway Golf in Carlsbad, Calif. The players will undergo a high-tech custom club fitting. The patented Callaway Performance Analysis System employs two high-speed cameras and ball-flight simulators, while a computer monitor displays an analysis of each golfer's launch conditions -- ball speed, launch angle and spin rates. The system also measures the path angle and the golfer's angle of attack to the ball, utilizing 3D imagery and precision software designed by Callaway Golf's R&D Department. Callaway Golf's proprietary OptiFit Fitting System technology allows golfers to test the manufacturer's equipment in a myriad of shaft and clubhead combinations quickly and efficiently.
COACH'S THOUGHTS ON THE SYCUAN COLLEGIATE
"Like the Gopher Invitational, this is a stronger field than the typical events we play in the northeast," said Sheehan. "The boys intend to validate their ECAC win with a strong showing, which they know would be quite a feat in an event like this."
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
The Bulldogs recent success may be due partially to their excellent facilities. Their home course was designed by Charles Blair Macdonald, the renowned golf course architect, champion golfer and co-founder of the USGA. He collaborated with Seth Raynor and Charles Banks to design the course, which was opened in 1926. The course is recognized as one of the finest examples of early American golf course design, with large, deeply bunkered greens and narrow rolling fairways. The course has been the site of every significant state championship, two USGA Junior National events, the 1991 and 2004 NCAA Eastern Regional championships and both the men's and women's ECAC Championships. It has been voted the #1 College Golf Course in America and #45 of the Top 100 Classical Golf Courses in America. In 1988, it was ranked by Golf Magazine as 71st among the 100 most difficult courses in the world.
The Bulldogs also have a state-of-the-art indoor golf facility named for their former coach Dave Paterson. The Dave Paterson Technology center is housed in Yale's historic Payne Whitney Gymnasium. It features the latest technology and equipment to enhance the quality of training and the performance of the men's and women's teams. Highlights of the Center include four hitting banks and a 630-square-foot professional putting green with 100 square feet of surrounding fringe. In addition, the complimentary technology includes a putt training system that provides real-time feedback based on 28 parameters of a putting stroke, a K Vest that measures the path of the hips, shoulders and arms through the swing, and video swing analysis software.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity