The new year brings the same winning ways for golfer Ami Gianchandani ’22. The sophomore sensation, who is ranked as the 99th best NCAA Division I women’s player by Golfstat, won the FAU Winter Warmup and helped lead the Yale women’s golf team to a third-place finish.
The tournament was played on Monday and Tuesday at the Osprey Point Golf Club in Boca Raton, hosted by Florida Atlantic University. This was the second time this season that the Elis played a demanding three rounds over two days — the first being the Bulldogs’ last competition of the fall semester in October. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs posted a team score of 284 on Tuesday, tied with competition winners Arkansas State for the best single-round mark. This great effort helped the Bulldogs finish just 11 shots behind the Red Wolves.
“It feels great to be able to win the first tournament of the season,” Gianchandani said. “It is reassuring that all the hard work in the offseason is paying off… We had a few days of practice outside so far which helped me prepare for this tournament. Florida courses have a lot of hazards so the key was keeping the ball in the fairway all day. It was some of the windiest conditions I played in so most of my targets were big and conservative. I wanted to stay calm and focused the whole day today.”
Part of Gianchandani’s success came on Par 5’s where the New Jersey native led the field along with Coco Chai ’22 and Seton Hall golfer Carolina Ronchel Salas with an average score 4.67. The five under par marks posted by the sophomores propelled Yale to the top of the same category where they led outright with an average score of 4.91.
The Elis also led the field in birdies, piling up 39 — four more than the second-place Seton Hall Pirates. But perhaps the most impressive statistic for Yale’s squad was the ability to drop its team score from 307 to 298 in back-to-back rounds.
“36 holes is really a mental test seeing which team can stay focused for 10 straight hours,” captain Beryl Wang ’20 said. “Starting out, we acknowledged it would be a long day but promised each other we would stay resilient and give each shot our all. On the course, even when we got tired, we played for each other and executed each shot to the best of our ability…Moving forward, we want to work on consistency and really nailing down the shots that we can rely on during pressure situations.”
The improvement in team scores would continue into the second day of competition where the Bulldogs would further improve their score of 298 to the single-round tournament-best 284. This rally on Tuesday moved Yale up three places in the team leaderboards from sixth to third.
Gianchandani was not the only Yale golfer who stood out in Florida. Chai finished in eighth place with her score of 221, seven strokes behind her fellow sophomore teammate. Rookies Kaitlyn Lee ’23 and Amy Zhang ’23 also had great showings, posting identical scores of 227 which were good for 26th overall.
“It’s something we talked about a lot in winter practice which is being realistic in our expectations and recognizing that we want to create really good momentum going into the spring,” head coach Lauren Harling said. “Even though our game is not as sharp that means that we have to be more sharp strategically… the girls are more motivated than ever because they see improvements made through the winter… having a really successful first spring tournament just adds fuel to the fire and the girls are really pumped moving forward.”
The Bulldogs return to competition in one month to participate in the Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
Eugenio Garza Garcia | firstname.lastname@example.org