Despite impressive individual performances and a strong final-round showing, the women’s golf team was unable to wrest the Ivy League title away from Princeton, which has won the tournament three out of the past five years.
Though Cindy Shin ’07 took the individual title and four other Bulldogs ranked in the top 15, the Elis were a distant second to the Tigers at the Ivy League Championship, held at Maidstone Golf Club in East Hampton, N.Y. Yale combined for a team score of 1005, which fell frustratingly short to Princeton’s 970. The Tigers and Elis left the rest of the competition in the dust, with the University of Pennsylvania taking third place with 1044.
Even though the Elis could not overcome the Tigers, they were proud of their strong efforts and of what they accomplished over the weekend.
“Obviously, we were a little disappointed with not winning,” Eli captain Lauren Ressler ’06 said. “But, I was really proud of my team. We fought hard the whole time and didn’t give up. Even when we were down by a lot, we still played hard and tried to get things to go our way.”
The Elis fell behind early on in the tournament, finding themselves 22 strokes behind the Tigers after just the first round. Shin and Princeton’s Meg Nakamura got their rivalry started early, with each tallying a 79 for the first round.
The Tiger’s clutch putting and dogged play throughout the weekend kept Shin from getting too comfortable with her lead.
“[Nakamura is] a really good putter and she didn’t give up on any of the holes. It was definitely a mental battle,” Shin said. “I’m really grateful she gave me some good competition. It was fun.”
The second round of play saw the Elis fall behind even further, as Princeton stretched its lead to 28. Shin, however, shone for the Bulldogs. She finished the second round with a one-over 75. Her score was the lowest of the round, and also the Elis’ lowest of the weekend. January Romero ’06, who finished seventh overall, also had her lowest score of the weekend, at 82 strokes.
Yale finally hit its stride during Sunday’s third round. The Bulldogs played their way to a 325, their lowest combined score of the weekend. Princeton, however, denied the Elis any chance for a comeback victory as they had the lowest score of the tournament, with a 318 for the day.
The Elis, who also finished second to the Tigers in last year’s Ivy League Championship, were slightly disappointed with the large margin of loss, considering the close rivalry that traditionally exists between the two teams. At the Hoya Invitational on April 3, the Elis beat out the Tigers by 13 strokes to take first place, while the Tigers downed the Bulldogs by 21 strokes during the fall season at the Princeton Invitational on Sept. 26.
“It’s always a rivalry, and it’s always back-and-forth,” Ressler said. “We beat Princeton two weeks ago at Georgetown — they beat us once in the fall. To lose by this much was disappointing, and to not really be in it was disappointing.”
Shin’s individual title was the highlight of the weekend for the Bulldogs. Her victory marks the first time a Yale golfer has won the individual title in five years. The Texas native’s recent success reflects the high quality of her play of late, which also won her first place at the Hoya Invitational.
Teammate Carmen Zimmer ’07 was effusive in her praise of Shin.
“I would say that she’s an incredibly brilliant player who’s obviously capable of motivating herself,” Zimmer said. “Her signature is the long drive off the tee, but she works a lot on her putting, which helps when there are bad conditions.”
Shin, who beat out Nakamura by just one stroke in the last round, also kept Princeton’s three-time defending champion Avery Kiser from claiming her fourth crown. Shin, though, was quick to add that her teammates provided key support for her throughout the season.
“I’m really thankful for the team this year, they were great,” Shin said. “Every single one of them has shown great love, great care and great support for me, individually, and for the team. I really appreciate them for what they mean to me.”