In a strong first showing, Yale’s women’s golf team finished third this weekend at the Dartmouth Invitational. The impressive team play was highlighted by sophomore sensation Ami Gianchandani ’22 clinching a second-place finish and rookie Kaitlyn Lee ’23 landing in the top-10.
After a solid start on Saturday, Gianchandani entered Sunday with the lead and looked to win the tournament for the second time in a row. Despite ultimately falling behind Harvard’s Chloe Royston, the Yale sophomore was still proud of her performance, which placed her second out of the 79 golfers competing.
“I definitely felt a lot of pressure to win it again, but also [felt] very excited since I was able to win it because of how well the course suits my game,” Gianchandani said. “Unfortunately not enough putts dropped and my efforts were not enough. Putting was definitely the difference between the two rounds.”
Heading into Sunday’s round in second place just behind Gianchandani, Royston took the top position by posting an impressive score of six under to close the tournament, tied for the best round this weekend. Harvard’s team won the tournament in resounding fashion, beating second-place Stetson by 14 shots and Yale by 17. Despite only entering the day with a two-stroke lead, Harvard padded its advantage with a team score of 280, which was 11 strokes better than the next best team round put up by Quinnipiac, who ultimately finished tied for sixth.
The Eli team this weekend was made up of five players plus captain Beryl Wang ’20 who competed as an individual. Boasting a very young team, Yale’s roster for the tournament included two sophomores and three first years: Gianchandani, Coco Chai ’22, Lee, Ashely Au ’23 and Amy Zhang ’23. Despite playing in their first collegiate tournaments, the cohort of rookie Bulldogs held their own against their opponents in Hanover.
“[The tournament] was a combination of nerves and excitement,” Lee said. “I was pretty tight and shaky on my first couple of holes because it was hard to believe that I was playing in my first collegiate tournament. In the end, I’m very proud with how I played and how the team did.”
The weekend tournament also marked the first official rounds of play for new head coach Lauren Harling. Harling described this weekend’s tournament as a “solid start” for herself and her players.
In preparation for the weekend’s tournament, where both the players and Harling knew putting would be the deciding factor, the Elis focused their team efforts on drills. In an attempt to perfect short-range shots, one Yale practice early in the week included making 400 putts within a six foot radius.
Thirteen teams participated in the tournament this weekend, with 90 strokes separating the best and worst teams while 57 strokes were in between the best and worst performing individuals. Building off its top-three finish this weekend, the Yale women’s golf team will next compete in the Princeton Invitational in two weeks. Lee, who has previously played in New Jersey, is already familiar with the course and looks forward to playing in her second collegiate tournament.
“I’ve played that course several times before so I know what to expect and what I need to work on,” Lee said. “I’m excited for our team and our future successes.”
Hanover Country Club, the site of the Dartmouth Invitational, is a par 72 course with a course distance of 5,826 yards for women’s tees.
Eugenio Garza Garcia | firstname.lastname@example.org