Sporting Life

Yale golfer ties collegiate record

Li Wang ’17 also broke the course record for the Course at Yale.

Courtesy Yale Sports Publicity

Courtesy Yale Sports Publicity

Li Wang ’17 shot a 60 at the Yale golf course in October, setting a new course record and tying the record low in collegiate golf history. View full image

Imagine you’re spending Saturday on the golf course, and from the opening drive, you know you’re playing the round of your life. The fairway shots are a little crisper, the chips a touch more accurate, and every putt just seems to drop.

You’re finishing the 16th hole, momentum carrying you through the back nine—when the horn blows and all play completely stops.

That’s what happened to men’s golf captain Li Wang ’17 in October. In the second round of the Macdonald Cup, held at the Course At Yale, Wang found himself 10 under through 16 holes. “I was in a zone I’ve never been in before,” says the Seattle senior. “I had never shot that low before in my life.” A score of 59—every golfer’s dream and a new NCAA record—was in play.

Then, at 6:20 p.m., an abrupt stop. Rain delays had backed up play, and darkness was falling in New Haven. The final two holes would have to wait. Wang says sleeping wasn’t a problem—he had played an exhausting 34 holes that Saturday—but the previous evening’s adrenaline rush had washed away by the next morning. “It really started to sink in,” he says. “I was really nervous finishing up those last two holes.”

After a par on the 17th, Wang had to face the 621-yard par-5 18th. When his third shot came up short of the green, a 59 was out of reach, but Wang still had a chance at shooting a 60. He did just that with a successful pitch and a short putt, as his teammates gathered around the green in support. There wasn’t much time to celebrate; Wang  had to get started on the last round of 18 in the Macdonald Cup. The Yale team ended up taking third place, behind Harvard and Scotland’s University of Stirling.

The following Monday, the NCAA confirmed that Wang’s round of 60 had tied the lowest recorded score in collegiate golf history: he was the 11th player to accomplish the feat. He also broke the record low of 62 for the Course at Yale—a famously challenging venue. Wang is fittingly proud that, 90 years after the birth of the course, “a Yale golfer again holds the course record.”

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