As the women’s golf team teed off at the Lady Pirate Invitational on Monday, the cold and rainy weather in North Carolina proved to be no kind alternative to the New England climate.
The Elis posted a 10th place finish with their opening score of +20 in the tournament, hosted by East Carolina University at the Greenville Country Club. Originally intended to be a two-day tournament with three rounds, it was ultimately shortened to 18-holes when the final two rounds of play were rained out.
Intermittent showers and a major rain-delay during the opening round forced the Bulldogs to huddle under trees in between holes.
“As the ground got wetter and the wind picked up, the course played longer,” Caroline Rouse ’15 said. “It was definitely a challenge.”
Even with a competitive field, which included many nationally ranked teams and individuals, the Bulldogs had a solid performance. While they finished in seventh at last year’s tournament, they were only seven strokes away from second place this year.
“Whenever you have a weather delay, it interrupts one’s rhythm in different ways,” head coach Chawwadee Rompothong said. “Occasionally, there would be downpours and depending where you were on the course, it would affect some people more than others.”
Rouse said everyone maintained a “great attitude” despite the weather, adding that she is confident the team’s total would have improved if they had played the final rounds.
“Unfortunately, the course was just unplayable,” Rouse said.
Rouse demonstrated an impressive short game during the opening round. With clutch putts on her back nine, a chip-in and three birdies in a row, her consistent play allowed her to close at even-par, a score that put her in a tie for 4th place overall and landed her a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
“I’ve been working to improve around the greens, so it was nice to see results,” Rouse said.
Her strong performance was also due in part to the team’s preparedness for harsh weather conditions.
“Playing in New England prepares you for wind, rain, sleet and all sorts of bad weather,” Rouse said. “I told myself I’d played in those conditions before and could do it again.”
Teammate Sun Gyoung Park ’14 also appeared on the leaderboards with a score of +4 in the first round, leaving her in a tie for 24th place.
The Bulldogs only have one fall tournament left this season. They will travel to Bethlehem, Pa. for the Lehigh Invitational at the Saucon Valley Country Club on Oct. 20.
“We are looking to continue to play consistently and try to go as low as possible,” Rompothong said. “Saucon Valley is a spectacular course, but is very challenging. Hopefully we will have good weather.”
After the Lehigh Invitational, the team will have a break until March.