The women’s golf team is accustomed to chilly fall winds and dark skies this time of year, but the Elis did not have to contend with these conditions in sunny Pine Needles, N.C. at the Ross Resorts Invitational Tuesday.

Facing a familiar Ivy League rival and a field of strong southern teams under clear skies, the Elis placed third out of 12. With the lowest final round of any team, the Bulldogs shot their best tournament score of the fall season and head into the off-season encouraged by a strong finish.

Augusta State won with a score of 905, tying Georgia State but claiming the title with a lower 5th-player score. Yale was next with a 66-over-par 918, a team total five strokes ahead of the Princeton Tigers. Captain January Romero ’06 scored 227, placing ninth overall.

Most importantly for the Elis, the victory over Princeton marks significant progress and a major accomplishment.

“Our goal was to beat Princeton,” Lauren Ressler ’06 said. “We’ve always had that expectation, but we’ve really been coming up a little short in the recent past, and we’re always trying to beat them.”

Several players agreed that this week’s performance was a fitting end to their fall season. With five players scoring each round, it has been difficult for everyone to excel at once.

Lindsay Hong ’08, who capped her tournament with an impressive 73 on the par-71 course, said this week’s showing reminded the Bulldogs of their potential heading into the spring.

“We weren’t surprised when we beat Princeton,” she said. “It’s a matter of getting everyone to play well at the same time, and it finally happened this weekend.”

Heading into Tuesday, the Elis stood in fourth place, but Tuesday’s 299 moved the team up to third. The score marked only the second time in four years of collegiate competition that the squad has broken 300 in a round.

For interim Yale head coach Chawwadee Rompothong ’00, who took the helm this year after a season as assistant coach, Tuesday’s 299 marked a strong finish to her first fall season.

Last year’s head coach, Mary Moan, is taking the year off. Team members said Moan is not sure whether she will return next year, and that Rompothong has made a good impression in her stead.

“She’s just been awesome,” Ressler said. “She’s been really helpful on the course. Our other coach was good for behind-the-scenes work. Our new coach can really help during the round.”

Romero, who was a freshman the last time Yale shot 299 in a round, also said Rompothong’s presence was welcome.

“I love her,” Romero said. “She has been amazing. She really has an appreciation for the learning process of golf.”

Rompothong said she has been pleased with her new role in Yale golf.

“We played phenomenally,” she said. “We’re a really great team and I’m really proud of them. They performed the way I expected them to all year.”