The Yale women’s golf team continued its slow start to the 2016 fall season with an unremarkable showing at the Nittany Lion Invitational tournament at Penn State this past weekend.
The Elis played catchup with most of the nine-team field throughout the two-day, three-round tournament, ultimately finishing in seventh place ahead of William and Mary and Bucknell. Jennifer Peng ’18, who won the individual title at the Ivy League Championships this past spring, finished in fourth place in this weekend’s competition to lead the Bulldog squad.
Yale’s results from the weekend represent its second consecutive bottom-three finish to start the season.
“Penn State is one of our favorite tournaments,” Jayshree Sarathy ’18 said. “We have a strong squad, but we didn’t perform as well as we should have.”
The weekend began with a grueling 36 holes on Saturday, keeping the Bulldogs on the course for over 10 hours. Despite the long day, Peng improved on her team-best first-round score of 74 with an even par of 72 in her second run through the course. The junior’s afternoon performance tied Rutgers’ Ashleigh Greenham for the best second round of the day, establishing her fourth-place position heading into the clubhouse.
Felicia Chang ’20, who scored a 76 in back-to-back rounds, followed Peng on the Yale team and occupied 15th place at the end of the first day. Chang’s consistency mirrored her performance in her Yale debut last weekend, when she recorded the team’s top individual score at the Cornell Invitational.
Despite solid showings from Peng and Chang, the Elis led just one team at the end of Saturday and could not muster a significant comeback on Sunday. Peng once again led the Bulldogs in the weekend’s third round with a team-best score of 73, while a cluster of Elis finished several strokes behind. Yale’s next five competitors — Sara Garmezy ’17, Chang, captain Sandy Wongwaiwate ’17, Sarathy and Elisabeth Bernabe ’17 -— each registered scores between 78 and 80, allowing the Elis to overtake William and Mary for seventh place. The hosting Penn State squad took the top spot in the final standings, finishing 21 over par through three rounds compared to Yale’s mark of plus-74.
“In general, we didn’t perform to our expectations or to our potential [this weekend],” Wongwaiwate said. “But coming off bad weekends like this, the team and I are looking to work even harder on our games and bounce back to finish our fall season stronger … We look forward to other [opportunities in] tournaments to prove ourselves.”
Next weekend, Yale will travel to New Jersey for the Princeton Invitational before returning home to host the Yale Women’s Intercollegiate at the start of October. The Elis finished a respectable fifth out of 15 teams at the Princeton tournament last year, and posted an unassuming eighth place standing at the 2015 Yale Women’s Intercollegiate.
Following these two tests at the end of 2016, the Bulldogs will break from competition for nearly five months in anticipation of the warmer spring weather. The bulk of Yale’s season resumes in March, when the Elis will face a slate of five tournaments culminating in the Ivy League Championship. By mid-April, the Elis hope to have improved on the mediocre performances that started their season.
“Though [the Nittany Lion Invitational] was our second tournament, and we have had a fair number of practices, we still haven’t had that much time to practice,” Garmezy said. “Especially considering that many of the girls don’t do too much over the summer, it can be hard to get back in that golf mindset.”
Yale has not won the Ivy League Championship since 2011.