The Yale women’s golf team went into last weekend’s Penn State Invitational as the underdogs but came out strong, finishing second. The Bulldogs know how to make the good shots when it counts.

After a disappointing sixth-place finish in their first tournament of the year, a few strokes behind their Ivy rivals Harvard, Columbia and Dartmouth, the Elis needed a strong performance to gain momentum for the upcoming season. This weekend they did just that, facing potentially tougher competition than the Ivy League and showing marked improvement over their performance in the tournament last year, when they placed eighth out of 14 teams.

“Our team played really well,” Ellie Brophy ’08 said. “We had the lowest scores on Saturday and Sunday, which is pretty exciting and encouraging after not having a stellar weekend at Dartmouth last weekend.”

The Bulldogs tied for second place with the University of Washington, falling only to Penn State University. Brophy said the team faced the strongest field it had played so far this season, inclduding two Big 10 members, Penn State and Ohio State, as well as the University of Washington, a member of the Pac-10. Three Yalies dominated the scoreboard, with Lindsay Hong ’08, Brophy and Cindy Shin ’07 finishing in the top six of the pack.

The Elis struggled in the first round, finishing sixth overall. But on Saturday and Sunday, the Elis came out to prove something, and they shot the lowest score each day with scores of 307 and 301, respectively. Hong, who led the Elis, finished second overall and shot 229 while Brophy finished third overall and shot 232. Both demonstrated improvement each round.

Captain Cindy Shin ’07, who had the most consistent weekend, shot 79 on the first and last days of the tournament and 76 on Saturday.

“I think we really wanted it and fought for it,” Hong said.

Tough competition was not the only obstacle the Elis had to overcome this weekend. Brophy said Penn allowed the rough to grow out, which made playing shots out of it more difficult than normal. The Elis also faced windy conditions every day of the tournament and even had to play through rain on the last day. Shin said by Sunday, the Elis knew what the course was going to be like and knew the speed of the greens.

“I’m really proud of our team,” Shin said. “Our team kept our composure through the rain and gusty winds. We were really patient with ourselves and that is what made the difference this weekend compared to other teams.”

Although the Elis are satisfied with their performance, Hong said, they still need to work hard.

As last year’s Ivy Champions, the Elis have standards to uphold. The Elis will take what they learned this weekend and build on it throughout the season.

“We’re going to ride the momentum into this weekend and the rest of the season,” Brophy said. “The Ivy League is looking stronger this year, stronger than it ever has. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

This weekend, the Elis will host the Yale Intercollegiate at the Yale Golf Course. Shin said the team will practice hard this week in preparation for the tournament, which will include rivals Princeton and Harvard.

“We’re going to have to work much harder for the Yale invite this weekend because it is our home tournament,” Shin said.