Following its promising season opener, the Yale women’s golf team came up short at the Nittany Lion Invitational this weekend, finishing 15th out of 16 teams.
Held at the Penn State Golf Course’s Blue Course, the tournament featured three rounds over two days with the top four individual scores considered for each team’s score. After the first two rounds, the Bulldogs carded a 42-over 618, placing them at 13th in the standings. However, the team slipped two spots in the final round after finishing with a composite score of 938. Penn State successfully secured its 22nd Nittany Lion Invitational championship, while the Elis only managed to triumph over Ohio University.
“Our focus for this fall is still focusing on improvement — taking every shot, good or bad, and learning from it, and applying what we learned to the next shot/round,” captain Julie Luo ’19 said.
Although this weekend marked only the second tournament in the team’s 2018-19 slate, the absence of last year’s seniors has had a substantial effect thus far. 2018 Ivy League Player of the Year and former captain Jennifer Peng ’18 consistently scored in the top of the Yale lineup during her tenure.
Returning players Gabrielle DeSombre ’21 and Felicia Chang ’20 earned total scores of 242 (+26) and 254 (+38), respectively, placing them both lower in the individual standings compared to their performances at the Dartmouth Invitational last weekend. DeSombre began with a five-over 77 in the first round but began to slip over the course of the tournament, eventually carding an eight-over 80 and 13-over 85. Chang also struggled to find her groove in her second invitational of the season but remains positive when considering the unique composition of her new team.
“We’re definitely a younger team,” Chang said. “But because we’re such a small team, it’s easy for us to stay cohesive.”
Even Luo had an off weekend, earning a total of 256 (+40), which placed her 90th overall. Her atypical performance this Saturday and Sunday was in stark contrast with her strong 2017-18 season, highlighted by her first-place finish at the Navy Invitational. Despite this slump in the team’s performance, Luo remains confident in her team’s future, acknowledging the newest members as quality golfers.
First-years Ami Gianchandani ’22 and Coco Chai ’22 earned final scores of a five-over 221 and 12-over 228, respectively, once again topping the stat sheet for the Elis. Chai began the tournament at Penn State with a 79, yet she continued to improve upon her performance with following scores of 73 and 76. Gianchandani led the team in scoring in each of the three rounds, each hovering mere strokes over par, which reflected her consistency as a player and promising future as a stellar Division I athlete.
In her debut last weekend at Dartmouth, Gianchandani rose to the occasion, topping all other competitors and capturing the individual championship. At the Penn State Invitational, she continued her strong performance and claimed 15th overall. Gianchandani attributes part of her success to the new environment of collegiate tournaments.
“I love having teammates to count on and having my teammates count on me,” Gianchandani said. “We are all working together and it provides an extra sense of motivation and purpose for every shot. I am no longer competing just for myself.”
As the dust settles from the 42nd annual Penn State Invitational, Yale looks to improve on its performance at upcoming tournaments and will strive to continue learning and growing together as the season progresses.
The team will compete next weekend at the Princeton Invitational in New Jersey from Sept. 29-30.
Ethan Williams | email@example.com .