Led by a standout individual performance from Jennifer Peng ’18, the Yale women’s golf team notched a fifth-place finish out of 15 teams at the Princeton Invitational this past weekend.
The Bulldogs finished at 59 over par in the two-round tournament, with 19 strokes separating them from team champions Harvard. Peng tied for fifth in the individual rankings after shooting 10 strokes over par for the tournament — five strokes off the lead — while Sandy Wongwaiwate ’17 finished 12 strokes over par to tie for 12th.
“The tournament was a lot of fun to play, and there were great teams competing,” Julie Luo ’19 said. “We didn’t play as well as we had hoped, but we all helped each other keep our spirits high and not give up throughout the tournament. This definitely inspired us to practice even harder before our last tournament this [fall] season.”
Testing themselves against Ivy League competition for the first time this fall, the Bulldogs finished behind Harvard, Princeton and Columbia while besting Penn, Dartmouth and Brown with their cumulative score. Yale’s result stood in contrast to its performance last year, when the Elis won the Princeton Invitational behind strong performances from then-captain Marika Liu ’15 and Wongwaiwate. Liu finished the tournament last year as the top individual performer, and Wongwaiwate shot round scores of 71, 70 and 79 to finish at four over and secure a tie for second place in the individual rankings.
“It was slightly intimidating, because it was our first tournament where other Ivies were in attendance,” Peng said. “There definitely was more pressure to see how we were doing in comparison to the other Ivy teams.”
The tournament at Springdale Golf Club was marked by poor weather conditions that forced the tournament, like the Yale Invitational that the Eli men hosted last weekend, to be shortened from three rounds to two. After a windy and rainy first day, the Bulldogs entered Sunday, the final day of the event, tied with Harvard for fourth place at 30 over par.
Wongwaiwate proved the strongest on her team at handling Saturday’s poor weather, completing the first round with a three-over-par 75, good for third place individually after one day. Peng finished the first round just behind her at four over but fired in a 78 on Sunday, pushing past Wongwaiwate, who tallied 83 strokes in her second round. With a cumulative score of 154 strokes, Peng led the Bulldogs for the second time in as many tournaments this fall.
“The weather conditions definitely made the course harder to play, but I tried to focus on my game and play it shot by shot,” Peng said.
In addition to Peng and Wongwaiwate, Elisabeth Bernabe ’17, Sabrina Long ’19 and Luo also competed for the Elis.
Luo improved eight strokes from a first round score of 85 to shoot a 77 in round two and catapult up the standings to 27th place. Luo finished two strokes ahead of her teammate, Long, who turned in round scores of 83 and 81 for 20 over par, while Bernabe ended the tournament at 25 over.
“Even though I struggled at times with my game, staying very strong mentally and keeping a positive attitude helped me post a better score,” Long said. “As a team, we all played to the best of our abilities at the time and I’m happy to have contributed in that way.”
Harvard improved 20 strokes as a team from the first round to the second and captured the title, defeating Princeton by a single stroke.
The Bulldogs will get their second chance to play against conference foes this weekend when they host the annual Yale Invitational tournament.