All season, the women’s golf team has been the Ivy League team to beat. On Sunday, the Bulldogs upheld their reputation and won the Ivy League Championship at the Atlantic City Country Club.
Using a strong final round to cap off a solid tournament performance, the No. 1 ranked team in the conference won their first title since 2006, edging out Harvard by four strokes.
After shooting the same score the first two rounds, the team improved by 17 strokes Sunday. The first place finish was a fitting result for the team’s seniors, who had finished in second the last two years. The team will now advance to the NCAA Regionals, which are from May 5–7.
Harriet Owers-Bradley ’11 contributed to the victory with the most consistent scores of the team, shooting +2 to finish in seventh on Sunday.
“This victory just made my Yale career,” Owers-Bradley said.
Captain Alyssa Roland ’11 was even more ecstatic, calling it “the best day of [her] life.”
“Words can’t even express how happy I am right now,” she said. “It feels incredible to finally win after coming so close throughout my college career.”
The team this year was bolstered by two freshmen who have made a notable impact, especially in the spring. Sun Park ’14 and Seo Hee Moon ’14 have led the team in scoring throughout the year, and played well over the weekend on the Atlantic City golf course. After shooting par the final day, Moon tied for third overall. After the tournament, Moon was not only named Ivy Rookie of the Year, but also Ivy League Player of the Year, and was part of the All-Ivy First Team.
Park steadily improved her score until finishing with a final round of +2, tying for 12th place. Park attributed her first round struggles to an overly ambitious approach, and the weather, which continued to challenge the team into Saturday.
“Not just our team, but everybody scored better the last couple of days,” Park said. “The difference was in motivation… We wanted to win really, really bad.”
For the Elis, a team that has placed first in almost every tournament this year, finding their focus, or handling the pressure of expectation, could have been a challenge. After all, the team had gotten a taste of its own mortality when it placed fourth — its worst finish in months — two weeks ago at the Brown Bear Invitational. After the Brown tournament, Roland said she considered the result a “wake-up call.” With last weekend off, the Bulldogs said they were able to re-focus, emphasizing their short game.
With an automatic bid to regionals, the Elis look to surprise those who don’t believe a team from the Ivy League can compete on the national stage.
“We are ready to make history,” Roland said. “This is one of the best teams that the Ivy League has ever seen… We have absolutely nothing to lose and are going to play our hearts out at regionals in a couple of weeks.”
If they finish in the top eight, the team will advance to the NCAA Championship, which is held from May 17–20.