It was a washout this weekend for the women’s golf team, both figuratively and literally.
Hosting the Yale Women’s Intercollegiate at the Yale Golf course, the Bulldogs finished sixth out of 19 teams. The Elis shot 27 over par, 10 shots behind Harvard, which won the tournament at 17 over par. The contest saw Saturday’s first round wiped out because of rain storms, with the final round of 18 holes on Sunday deciding the entire tournament. The Bulldogs placed ahead of the other Ivy League teams besides the Crimson, including Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Penn.
Expectations were high coming into the competition as the Elis hoped to capitalize on their knowledge of their challenging home course.
“With the rains, the other teams were not able to complete practice rounds on Friday, giving us even more of a home-court advantage,” Erica Im ’09 said.
That advantage seemed to materialize Saturday. The Bulldogs were one of the first teams to tee off in the morning, shooting solid rounds across the board before play was suspended.
“I played 17 holes on Saturday, shooting three over, while the rest of the team was between five over and seven over on the round,” captain Natasha Spackey ’09 said.
As the rain continued to pour, the decision to suspend play came down to a few water-logged greens on the course.
“One green there were squeegeeing to remove water,” Harriet Owers-Bradley ’11 said.
At the point of suspension on Saturday, the Elis were almost done with their rounds, with two to three holes left to play for most members of the team. Given that players from other teams had played significantly fewer holes by this time, tournament officials decided there was not enough time to finish the first round Sunday morning.
Many of the other schools had flights booked for Sunday evening and simply could not fit in the extra holes of golf on Sunday needed to finish the tournament. That meant that all the scores from Saturday were wiped clean — a fact that was unsettling for some of the Bulldogs.
“It was very hard seeing that hard work thrown away,” Spackey said. “It was definitely mentally challenging for the tournament to come down to only 18 holes making every stroke really count.”
Saturday’s strong play did not carry over for the team, which struggled around the greens on the soaked course Sunday.
“I’m used to thinking the Yale greens are very fast,” Im said. “With a day and a half of rain, I did not register the effects of the wet conditions on the speed of the greens, which resulted in lots of three-putts.”
Meanwhile, the competition, including the Crimson, seemed to warm up to the Yale Golf Course, posting much-improved rounds Sunday.
“The other teams didn’t get a practice round on Friday, so Saturday became a practice round for them, allowing them to play better on Sunday,” Owers-Bradley said.
Comparing the two days for the Elis, the Bulldogs shot 27-over combined for their four players on Sunday’s round. Using the player’s estimates from Saturday and assuming a completed round, the team would have shot around 20- to 24-over.
“If everyone had stayed level for the remaining holes on Saturday, our team score would have been better than Sunday’s,” Owers-Bradley said.
Although the rules were applied evenly to every team for Sunday’s round, players said the Elis still did not feel satisfied with their abbreviated tournament experience.
“People can have a fluke having the best round of their life or the worst,” Im said. “The tournament is incomplete with just one round and does not give a good indication to the abilities of the teams.”
There were still plenty of lessons to be taken away from this past weekend as the Bulldogs continue to prepare for the Ivy League Championship in the spring. Several players spoke of the need to improve putting for all players.
“The greens posed the biggest challenge to the team,” Spackey said. “Our short games were not up to par.”
Looking ahead, the team will hit the links again at the Xavier Invitational in Daytona, Fla., in two weeks, hoping to see better weather and a full weekend of golf.