After finishing among the top two in its previous two tournaments, the women’s golf team took a tumble from the top Oct. 5-6 at the Nittany Lion Women’s Invitational at Penn State.

Penn State took charge at home, placing first with a 902, while Princeton, the only other Ivy competitor, finished in fifth place with a 935. Yale finished ninth overall, shooting a 954. While the Bulldogs’ first two tournaments of the year were two-day, 36-hole events, this weekend’s tournament was a “36-18” tournament, meaning the Bulldogs had to play 36 holes on Oct. 5 before playing 18 holes on Oct. 6. Stephanie Wei ’05 led the Elis, shooting a 233 through three rounds, good for 20th overall.

The 36 holes on Saturday challenged the young Elis, who have three freshmen among their leading five golfers.

“The only two people who had played a 36-18 hole tournament were Stephanie and I,” said captain Jordanna Davis ’03, who shot 252 over the weekend. “[36-18] tournaments are just as much about mental preparation as physical preparation.”

In addition to a challenging tournament format, the Bulldogs also faced stiffer competition this weekend than they had in the previous two events.

“It was the toughest competition we’ve faced so far. The teams we faced were really strong” Jeehae Lee ’06 said. Lee shot a 240 and finished with Yale’s second-best score. “For me, the 36 holes on Saturday were mentally really tough.”

Other than the new tournament format, the golf team suffered from a few minor injuries that further hindered their performance. Wei ’06 and Katie Reaves ’05 played despite back pain while January Romero ’06 finished fourth out of the Elis’ seven participants with a 244 despite playing with wrist pain.

“The course turned out to be pretty difficult. It was long, and our scores kind of added up,” Lee stated. Given the Elis’ practice experience on their home course — which Golf magazine ranks as the 58th-most difficult course in the United States — the Bulldogs were confident going into this weekend’s tournament.

Even though the Bulldogs failed to reach their expectations for the weekend, many positives came from their trip to Penn State.

“Stephanie [Wei] played really well,” Lee said. “She pulled through really well on the last 18 holes.”

Wei shot a 75 over the last 18 holes for her best single round of the tournament.

“We were flat the first day, and everyone was a little tired, but our second 18 on Saturday was better than the first round” Lauren Ressler ’06 said, “After the first day we all thought we could do better. It just didn’t turn out that way.”

In spite of the Bulldogs’ performance, the weekend was an important learning experience for the Eli freshmen.

“The competition will make us better for our upcoming tournaments in a few weeks,” Ressler added.

Yale will face Brown and Harvard in an informal match Oct. 19-20, then they have two vital tournaments in North Carolina and Georgetown to end the fall season.

“The next time we play a 36-18 hole tournament, we will do much better,” Davis said.