This past weekend at the Princeton Invitational, the Yale women’s golf team placed first overall, led by a stellar performance from captain Marika Liu ’15, who earned first place individually after a round of even par on the last day of the tournament.
After two solid rounds of play, Yale went into the last day tied with Columbia for first place. Sandy Wongwaiwate ’17 shot a sensational two-under par 70 following a first round of 71 and secured first place before the last round. Right behind Wongwaiwate was Liu, who tied for third after scoring 75 and 72 in the first and second round, respectively. Jennifer Peng ’18 also delivered a solid performance of 74–75, in line with a downward trend in her scores this fall.
In order to win, the team needed four of its five players to post an aggregate score lower than Columbia’s, and despite harsh weather conditions, the team achieved just that. In the last round, the Bulldogs turned in an impressive aggregate score of 305, 12 strokes lower than that of Columbia.
“We really wanted to win the tournament since we lost to Columbia by one stroke at Penn State,” Elizabeth Bernabe ’17 said. “Despite the extremely cold weather conditions … we held it together and were able to surpass Columbia and the rest of the field.”
The most notable performance of the final day belonged to Liu, whose even-par 72 marked the lowest score of all players that day and propelled her to the top of the leaderboard (75–72–72). Her consistently low scores reflect not only her progression throughout the season but also her ability to outperform herself and carry the team in crucial moments. Liu also mentioned that a putter switch was instrumental to her success.
“On a personal level, to win my first individual title was quite a thrill,” Liu said. “My putting has been holding me back a little this year, but I switched putters this week, and it made all the difference.”
Her teammate Wongwaiwate, who fell out of the lead on the last day of the tournament with a less competitive round of 79, still took second place overall thanks to her remarkable performance in earlier rounds (71–70–79). Peng and Bernabe both finished the tournament with a 77 and contributed to the team’s overall top score.
After this win, the team now ranks No. 54 in the nation. Wongwaiwaite said the Bulldog’s national team ranking has only been getting better this season and that the players look forward to keeping it up in the spring.
Though the Princeton Invitational marked the end of fall season for the Bulldogs, the win gave players motivation to work hard during off-season.
“To win our last tournament of the semester is a wonderful achievement and leaves the team hungry for further success in the spring,” Liu said.
Wongwaiwaite added that the team’s biggest tournament is the Ivy League Championship in the spring and that the players hope to secure the win this year.
The Bulldogs’ first tournament in the spring will be at Georgetown on March 29, 2015.