The women’s golf team blew the dust off their clubs and teed it up for the first time this spring with hopes of sunny skies and dry fairways at the William and Mary Invitational. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the bad weather of the Northeast made the trip south along with them.
Over two rainy days at Ford’s Colony Country Club, the Eli women golfers navigated their way to an 82-over-par finish of 650, good enough for ninth place in the 18-team tournament. Notre Dame took home the contest hardware, carding a two-day total of 626 to win by five strokes over the host squad.
The Bulldogs finished in the middle of the three-team Ivy League pack, trailing Princeton by fours strokes but polishing off last place Pennsylvania by 85.
Winter-induced rust may have been a factor as well for the Daughters of Eli, who had played only one round on a course since the fall season.
“It was hard practicing for the tournament because our course was closed all last week,” said team captain Sarah Seo ’02, whose total of 161 landed her in a tie for 24th place. “It’s hard to go into a tournament when you haven’t played on a course in a week.”
Sophomore Jordanna Davis claimed Medalist honors for the Yale squad, posting rounds of 75 and 84 to finish tied for 19th. The tournament marked the first time Davis had been Medalist this season.
“My putting was on, and I scored well,” Davis said. “It doesn’t really matter [that I was a Medalist]. Everybody’s play fluctuates week to week. We’re just a team.”
Davis’ swoon from the first day to the second was typical — 11 of the 18 teams in the field posted a higher score Sunday. That trend can largely be attributed to the fact that there was more rain on Sunday, as well as the fact that the course closed the driving range Sunday morning, leaving players without a chance to warm up before the round.
Playing in difficult weather conditions requires a mental adjustment, Seo said.
“It was pretty rainy and wet out there, which affects the way you play mentally,” Seo said. “If you hit the ball fat once, you’re afraid you’re going to do it every time. It’s just hard to keep the same swing thoughts as you usually would.”
Seo has been Yale’s best individual player this year, claiming Medalist honors four times in as many outings. Along with the rest of the team, though, she still needs some time to get prepared for the spring, she said.
“I wasn’t striking the ball very well,” Seo said. “But I tried my best and I was able to salvage something pretty decent.”
Andia Winslow ’04 and Katie Hatsushi ’04 also made the trip for the Elis. Winslow’s total of 162 placed her in a tie for 29th, while Hatsushi shot a 172 to finish in a 59th place tie. Jenny Schriefer ’02 rounded out the Bulldog contingent, carding a 47th place total of 168.
William and Mary’s Ann Schnell parlayed home course advantage into an individual victory, leading all players with a total of 5-over-par 147. Princeton’s Esty Dwek led the way for the Ivy League representatives, carding Sunday’s low round of 73 to total 150 and finish tied for second overall.
Princeton will be the Elis’ main competitor in their drive to defend last year’s Ivy League championship. The Bulldogs won the Princeton Invitational early this year, but the Tigers evened things up by knocking off Yale last weekend.
“We weren’t really deterred by the weekend,” Seo said. “We know the competition is going to be tough, but if we play our best we’re going to be really tough to beat.”
Seo added that the tournament could be seen as a tune-up for the spring season.
The all-important Ivy League Championships are next on the docket for the Bulldogs, who will get a week to prepare before teeing it up again April 14. The tourney will take place at Forsgate Country Club in Jamesberg, N.J.
“[That course] is similar to Yale,” head coach Mary Moan said. “We should own that course because we will feel right at home. It’s definitely an advantage.”