During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the 2014 spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Ivy League:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Yale
• Player to watch: Joe Willis, Yale. Willis finished the fall as Yale’s highest-ranked individual (228th in the Golfweek/Sagarin ranking) and despite being only a sophomore on a team with some more-experienced players, he could be the key player for Yale again this spring.
• Freshman to watch: Robert Deng, Harvard. Deng, ranked 403rd in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, led the Crimson in scoring average during the fall (72).
• Conference championship: April 25-27, Baltusrol GC, Springfield, N.J.
• Past champions (since 2009): Princeton (2013), Pennsylvania (2012), Yale (2011), Columbia (2009-10)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Yale (80): The Bulldogs won twice, at the Doc Gimmler and Ivy League Match Play, and finished second and third in their other two fall tournaments. Yale is led by a talented trio – senior Sam Bernstein, junior William Davenport and sophomore Joe Willis. Senior Sean Gaudette has a strong hold on a lineup spot, as well, but the fifth spot is still a question mark entering the spring.
- Harvard (123): The Crimson finished runner-up to Yale at the Doc Gimmler and then lost to the Bulldogs at the Ivy League Match Play during the fall. Harvard was also 15th out of 16 teams at the Windon Memorial and T-4 at the Temple Invitational. But this is a young Harvard team, led by freshmen Robert Deng and Kendrick Vinar, so there’s plenty of room for growth in the spring.
- Columbia (161): The Lions posted three top 5s in the fall, including a runner-up finish at the Patriot Intercollegiate, before winning two of three matches at the Ivy League Match Play. Junior Brandon Jowers’ 69.44 scoring average was tops on the team in the fall, but aside from sophomore Harrison Shih, there wasn’t much consistency in the lineup with five other players finishing the fall ranked outside the top 1,000 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.
- Princeton (184): The Tigers didn’t finish better than eighth in three fall tournaments before a fourth-place showing at the Ivy League Match Play. Senior Greg Jarmas is the defending Ivy League individual champion, and he led this team again in the fall.
- Pennsylvania (210): The Quakers’ best fall finish was a fourth-place showing at the Patriot Intercollegiate, but Penn also lost twice at the Ivy League Match Play, to Princeton and Dartmouth. Freshman Dane Walton and a pair of juniors, Ben Cooley and Austin Powell, are the key pieces for this squad.
- Dartmouth (224): The Big Green opened the fall with a victory at the Bucknell Fall Invitational, but the results progressively worsened as Dartmouth wrapped up the fall with a T-14 showing at the Temple Invitational and a fifth-place finish at the eight-team Ivy League Match Play. At No. 705, Jeffrey Lang was the only player ranked inside of Golfweek’s top 1,200.
- Cornell (247): The Big Red were third at their home event, the Cornell Invitational, but were 10th and 13th in its other two fall tournaments, and finished last at the Ivy League Match Play.
- Brown (266): The Bears didn’t finish better than eighth in any of its four fall tournaments, but they did defeat Cornell to avoid a last-place finish at the Ivy League Match Play.
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Lance Ringler weighs in on the conference title race
Yale is where the attention is. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 51 in the Golfstat Rankings, which would usually be good for a spot as an at-large into the postseason come selection day. However, Yale should be the favorite come late April to win the Ivy League and earn the AQ, but can the Bulldogs stay in the hunt for an at-large bid?