Not every golf tournament hands out free golf clubs just for playing.
But at the Louisiana State University Cleveland Golf Classic, all members of the Yale women’s golf team received complimentary wedges from manufacturer Cleveland Golf. For the Bulldogs, the clubs were a consolation prize; Yale finished 13 of 14 teams at the LSU invitational April 4 to 6.
The competition was held at the University Club in Baton Rouge on a par 72, 6276-yard course. Most teams were southern schools such as Tulane, Mississippi State University, Augusta State University and the College of Charleston.
The University of North Carolina-Wilmington took first place with a combined score of 889 over three rounds. Tulane finished second with 892, and the University of Memphis placed third with 905. Yale shot 84 over par for the tournament for a 948.
The Bulldogs were at a disadvantage because one of their strongest players, Lauren Ressler ’06, had to withdraw from the tournament due to a back injury.
With Ressler withdrawn, Yale’s remaining top four players — January Romero ’06 (79), Stephanie Wei ’05 (77), Jeehae Lee ’06 (75) and Jordanna Davis ’03 (80) — tried to pick up the slack in the third round Sunday. Romero’s 13-over par finish was good enough for No. 22 overall in the tournament.
Despite the low finish Sunday, Yale did show improvement since its first tournament of the spring. At the Dr. Thompson Rainbow Tournament in Hawaii over spring break, the squad finished 8 of 14 but shot 100-over par to finish with 964 in three rounds.
Yale’s finish at LSU was not as strong as usual because of the event’s tough competition.
“Southern teams will generally be better than our Ivy opponents because of the weather and the attraction of better players with scholarships,” Stephanie Wei ’05 said.
New Haven’s weather — like the snow piled on the ground right now — has made practice for the Elis very difficult so far this spring.
“We struggled, mainly because the Connecticut weather has not allowed us to practice outdoors consistently,” Jordanna Davis ’03 said. “As a result, our play was inconsistent.”
Davis said the team decided to play at the LSU Invitational because it is a well-run tournament, and the weather in Louisiana is typically great for golf. But a thunderstorm did stop a strong finish from the Elis during the second round.
“We were on our way to a pretty good second round, but we unfortunately lost some of our momentum as a result of a thunderstorm delay,” Davis said. “It can be difficult to get back into your game when you’ve been sitting around in the clubhouse and the course conditions have changed so much.”
Despite its 13th place finish, the team is not concerned about the upcoming Ivy League Championship April 25 to 27 in New Jersey.
“We are a much better team than our performance showed this weekend; numbers can be deceiving. I think we just need another week or two, and we will be in top form,” Wei said.
The team has only one more tournament, the Lady Dukes Invitational in Virginia this weekend, before the Ivy League Championship. Top rival Princeton also will be at the Lady Dukes tournament where the Bulldogs and Tigers will size each other up before the championship match.