The women’s golf team took a month-long break that extended into its final fall tournament.

Following four weeks without competition, the Bulldogs struggled in the first round and never recovered in the Pine Needles Women’s Collegiate Invitational in Southern Pines, N.C. Competing against some of the country’s best, Yale placed ninth out of 11 teams with a score of 951, 99 strokes over par. The 54-hole tournament was hosted by North Carolina State University Nov. 4-5.

“This team doesn’t like to point to excuses,” head coach Mary Moan said. “We just didn’t play well.”

Immediately in the first round, the Bulldogs struggled, posting a 328. On the par-71 course, Jeehae Lee ’06 scored 84, including two quadruple bogeys.

But Lee managed to rebound to a solid second round 76, and the team followed suit. Yale came back strong in the second and third rounds, with scores of 313 and 310 respectively. Tuesday’s 310 was the round’s second lowest score, just seven strokes off the 303 posted by the University of North Carolina, the tournament’s champion.

The long par fours and sloping greens of the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, host of the 1996 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Open, put the team at a disadvantage against their competitors, said captain Jordanna Davis ’03, who withdrew from the second round with a shoulder injury. Davis said many other teams drove the ball further than the Elis.

“There were some real powerhouse golf schools,” Davis said.

N.C. State, Baylor University, Rollins College, and the University of Miami rounded out the top five.

“For us to be in the presence of these teams is definitely invaluable,” Moan said.

Moan said that by facing the country’s top programs, Yale will feel more confident at the Ivy League Championship in the spring.

2002 All Ivy selection Stephanie Wei ’05 and January Romero ’06 posted Yale’s best individual results, tying for 26th place with a three round total of 235, 22 strokes over par.

“I definitely struggled, especially in the first two rounds,” Wei said.

The four-week layoff between tournaments did not help the Bulldogs’ cause.

The team was scheduled to compete in the Women’s Hoya Invitational hosted by Georgetown University in Reston, Va., but the tournament was cancelled because of the sniper in the capital area.

“We were a little bit rusty,” Wei said.

The Bulldogs were unable to improve on their finish at last year’s rendition of the North Carolina tournament, where they finished seventh out of 14 teams in a 36 hole format.

The team had early success this year against weaker competition, winning the Dartmouth Invitational Sept. 13-15 and placing second in the Yale Invitational Sept. 20-22. Despite the results in North Carolina and a disappointing ninth place finish at Nittany Lions Women’s Fall Invitational Oct. 4-6 at Pennsylvania State University, the team remains optimistic about the spring, the main part of the season.

“We did have a lot of success this fall; we have that to build on,” Moan said. “I think this team is right where they need to be.”

With the fall season over, the team rests until March, when it heads to Hawaii to train and compete in the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Tournament.

Then the team will focus on the Ivy League Championship, from April 25-27, where Yale hopes to repeat and win its fifth Ivy League championship overall and return to the NCAA championship.

Princeton and Yale are the Ivy League’s two most dominant women’s golf programs. Since the league recognized women’s golf as a varsity sport in 1997, only the Tigers and Bulldogs have won league championships. Yale has won four times and Princeton has won twice.

“It’ll come down to Princeton and Yale,” Davis said. “We have comparable talent and drive; it will come down to little things.”