Yale Athletics

The Yale women’s golf team concluded its first April tournament with a win at the Navy Invitational in Annapolis, Maryland this weekend, with three Bulldogs finishing in the top 10.

In its second tournament of the spring season, Yale faced off against eight competitors at the Naval Golf Academy Club after a mixed result at the Otter Invite in March. Despite inclement weather and a lack of a practice round, Yale sat in first place after Friday’s competition and posted another strong showing on Saturday to clinch victory with a team score of 650 that demonstrated the depth of the Eli roster. The highlight of the event was Julie Luo’s ’19 dominant performance, which led her to her first collegiate tournament win.

“The tournament gave us great momentum to start our season, and hopefully we can keep it up the next two weeks,” Luo said. “It was a tricky course with really tough greens, which was great practice for us with Ivies coming up soon.”

Luo led the field on Friday with a phenomenal score of 73 (+1), placing her six strokes in front of her nearest competitor. Not far behind was Jennifer Peng ’18, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year. Shooting an eight-over 80, the team captain was tied for third on the first day of competition.

On Peng’s heels were teammates Beryl Wang ’20 and Gabbie DeSombre ’21, with scores of 81 (+9) and 82 (+10) that positioned them in ninth and 12th places, respectively, heading into the second day. Rounding out the team on Friday was Felicia Chang ’20 with an 86 (+14) in her first match of the spring season.

“Even though the conditions were bad, we lucked out and were able to play both rounds, which was awesome prep for us,” Peng said. “We did well but will definitely continue to practice hard leading up to the Ivies.”

With a 17-stroke lead after Friday, Yale returned to the course in dominant fashion on Saturday and carded a team score of 334, giving up little ground to the field despite Wang’s withdrawal. Shooting an 82 (+10) under brutal conditions, Luo claimed first overall with a tournament score of 155 (+11). Meanwhile, Peng finished second at the event, with a final score of 157 (+13).

DeSombre continued her strong start to her inaugural spring season with an 82 (+10), matching her previous day’s performance and earning an eighth-place finish in the field. Chang faltered on Saturday, shooting a 93 (+21), but the team defeated second-place Towson by seven strokes, with local rival Quinnipiac finishing in third, 16 strokes behind Yale.

“We feel good about our performance and hope to continue improving over the next weeks as we head into the championships,” DeSombre said. “If we continue playing like this, then I think we’ll surprise a lot of other teams.”

Jayshree Sarathy ’20 and Lucy Liu ’21 competed as individuals in the tournament, scoring 171 (+27) and 179 (+34).

Although Liu noted that the team felt there was much room for improvement, the rookie said that the Bulldogs were pleased with the result.

“We gave it our all and came home with the trophy, which is always relieving,” Liu said. “Everyone is very proud of Julie, who won her first individual collegiate tournament.”

The Elis hope to build on their strong showing as they prepare for the Ivy League Championships, a three-day tournament that will begin on April 20. With less than two weeks before taking on their Ivy rivals, members of the team said they are confident their hard work this season will allow them to improve on 2017’s last-place finish.

The Bulldogs will play next at the two-day Hartford Invitational on April 14–15, their final tournament before the Ivy Championships.

Alex Reedy | alex.reedy@yale.edu