Freshmen lead women’s golf to second place finish

The Yale women’s golf team came into the Nittany Lion Invitational this weekend having won their first two tournaments of the year behind strong play from freshman sensation Elisabeth Bernabe ’17.

The Elis looked poised to win their third consecutive event this weekend, but the first–day lead they earned on Friday gave way on Saturday at Penn State. The team failed to mount a comeback on Sunday, settling for second place out of fourteen squads.

“This tournament had an extremely tough field,” Bernabe said. “We were able to bring our A game. Placing second is still a major feat.”

Bernabe had been the difference-maker during the first two tournaments of the season, winning the individual title at each event. However, it was a different freshman, Sandy Wongwaiwate ’17, that led the Bulldogs this time around.

Wongwaiwate finished second overall in the tournament, shooting 72-70-74 on the par-72 course. Bernabe ended up in sixth, three strokes back at +3 for the weekend.

For Wongwaiwate, it was her first time carding a round at even par or better in collegiate competition. This weekend, she accomplished the feat not only once, but twice.

“I was focused more on eliminating my bad shots and playing my own game,” Wongwaiwate said.

Bernabe and Wongwaiwate have put forth a number of strong performances this year, strongly representing the class of 2017. Both have finished in the top ten of each tournament this year. Bernabe has the best single round of any Bulldog, reaching -4 in the season-opening Dartmouth Invitational.

Right behind Wongwaiwate and Bernabe this weekend were Marika Liu ’15, who finished in seventh place, and Seo Hee Moon ’14, who overcame a difficult second day of competition to finish in a tie for twenty–fifth.

The tournament started out very well for the Bulldogs, who carried a four–stroke lead into the second day of competition. Wongwaiwate managed to calm her nerves from the get-go.

“On the first hole, I hit a pretty bad tee shot to the left,” Wongwaiwate said. “However, I had Coach [Chawwadee Rompothong ’00] cheering me on, and I bounce[d] back the next hole and played pretty well for the first round.”

Despite their resilient mentality, the Elis failed to match Friday’s performance on Saturday. On the second day of competition, Kent State charged back to take a one-stroke lead behind three players shooting even-par or better. Jennifer Ha, who won the individual title at -4, led the Golden Flashes all weekend.

The Bulldogs left the weekend knowing that there was room for improvement.

“As a group, [we] should work on our short games because that’s where the key strokes are made,” Wongwaiwate said.

Despite the minor setback, both Wongwaiwate and Bernabe remained optimistic.

Wongwaiwate noted that the team met after the competition on Sunday and agreed that it could have performed better.

“The team has a very solid foundation,” Bernabe said, echoing her teammate’s sentiment. “If we work on our mental game, we can become champions.”

Yale next plays at the Sacred Heart Fall Classic in Milford, Conn. on Oct. 20-21. It is the Bulldogs’ last competition until the spring season.

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