The women’s golf team came out of the gates hot this academic year with a wire-to-wire victory at its fall season opener, the Dartmouth Invitational. But despite three top-five finishes, the squad had failed to capture another victory in a large invitational since that competition ended on Sept. 16.
That trend ended last week with a Bulldog victory at the Brown Invitational held on April 14–15. The Elis posted a score of 604 for a massive 17-stroke victory over second-place Seton Hall, dominating a field that included Ivy rivals Harvard, Columbia, Dartmouth and tournament host Brown. The win could not have come at a better time, as the team next heads to the Ivy League Championship meet, which will be held this weekend at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J.
“We’ve been improving slowly,” Sun Gyoung Park ’14 said. ”Right before Ivies, we wanted to test ourselves … so that we’re mentally ready for Ivies.”
The night before the Brown Invitational began, the women’s golf team learned of the men’s hockey team’s championship in the NCAA tournament. Motivated by Yale’s success and a desire to keep the school’s momentum going, the golfers attacked the course at the Rhode Island Country Club from the tournament’s outset.
“We were riding off the coattails of the hockey team, which was really inspiring,” head coach Chawwadee Rompothong ’00 said.
Although the gap between Bulldog victories this season was as wide as could be — the team won its first and last regular season contests — the team won in the same way both tournaments, leading from start to finish. Yale posted a first-round team score of 309, three strokes in front of second-place Harvard. Park tied with four other golfers, including Harvard’s Bonnie Hu, for first after the first round with a score of 75.
Park emphasized that entering the second day of competition, the team aimed at not relinquishing its first round lead. The Elis ended up doing much more than that, posting by far the best team round of the tournament with a score of 295. Park again paced the Elis with a score of 72 which, combined with her first round score, brought her into a tie for the tournament title with St. John’s Jennifer Neville and BU’s Kristyna Pavlickova.
A number of other Elis excelled throughout the course of the tournament. Marika Liu ’15 finished the tournament in sixth overall, shooting a 77 during the first round and a 74 on Monday’s round to finish seven-over for the tournament. Two other Bulldogs placed right behind Liu, as both Seo Hee Moon ’14 and Shreya Ghei ’15 finished at +9 for the tournament to tie for seventh with three other golfers.
“This was our last event of the season before our conference, so we really hyped ourselves up for this,” Liu said. “[We knew] it would be a critical tournament in which we would prove ourselves to the rest of the field.”
The Elis certainly improved by accruing such a wide margin of victory at the invitational. Now, the Elis will have to demonstrate a strong performance at Ivy League Championships this weekend amidst higher expectations.
The team finished third at last season’s championships, buoyed by performances by Moon, who finished eighth, and Park—who, by placing in the top-five in third, garnered an all-Ivy first team selection.
“We joked around a couple days ago, ‘What if we all got top-five, and we win, and we all get first team all Ivies,’” Park said.
Ivy League Championships, the Elis’ last meet of the season, will begin on Friday and run through Sunday.