By Kevin Rhoads, Women's Golf Coach
The Crimson's third tournament of their fall season brought them to State College, Pennsylvania to compete in the Penn State Invitational. In addition to having one of the biggest football stadiums in the land, Penn State's campus also boasts a beautiful 36-hole golf facility. Contested on Penn State's Blue Course, the 54-hole tournament had a strong field with some teams Harvard usually doesn't see in the northeast. Coming off of victories at both Yale and Princeton, the Crimson was looking for its third tournament victory in the last three weeks to start the fall season, which would have been a first in program history. However, due to the tournament's Friday – Sunday schedule, the team had to leave for Happy Valley early Thursday morning, and thus had a short week of preparation. They had their work cut out for them.
Ten inches of rain over the last month made the Blue Course an even tougher test than usual. At least as much as Princeton last week, the 6229 yard layout pushed the girls to their limits, and the greens proved difficult to read despite their smooth surfaces.
However, round one saw relatively good weather. Temperatures were in the low 60's, and it only rained off and on. Unfortunately, Harvard didn't get off to the same fast start as the previous two events. There was a little bit of rust on their games due to less preparation, and it was magnified by the long, wet conditions. They shot 315 to sit tied for 8th out of 15. Tiffany Lim '15 (San Jose, Calif.) shot 76 to lead the Crimson. Bonnie Hu '14 (Freemont, Calif.) shot 78. Jane Lee '12 (Alamo, Calif.) had 80. Brenna Nelsen '15 (Monte Sereno, Calif.) and Julie MacDonell '14 (Sayville, N.Y.) had 81 and 84, respectively.
On Saturday the weather took a turn for the worse. Rain and mist dominated the sky while temperatures dropped to the mid 40's. Conditions were tougher than day one, and the weather much less comfortable, but the teams were adjusting a bit more to the conditions. Lim was low again for the Crimson – and did a great job of piecing together a 75. Hu used long and straight driving to hit 16 greens in regulation in round two, but wasn't able to convert on enough putts, shooting 76. Nelsen shot 78, Lee had 80, and MacDonell 89. Harvard improved to 308, but lost one position on the leader board, sitting tied with Yale at 624.
The girls fought really hard in the tough conditions, and showed signs of moving things in the correct direction. Even more impressively, despite playing for 5 ½ hours in the cold and wet conditions, each member of the team asked to go back out in the storm to practice some more after the round. They each found some good keys to use for Sunday's final round, and felt good about improving on their position on Sunday.
Unfortunately the opportunity to do so didn't present itself. Steady and heavy rain on Saturday night made the course unplayable Sunday morning. There was casual water in most fairways, the rough, many bunkers, and on 7 or 8 of the 18 greens. To make matters worse, the temperature was in the mid 30's. The Rules Officials, Host Coach Denise St. Pierre, and the Superintendent all conferred about the possibility of playing, and eventually decided that the course and weather weren't going to allow 18 holes Sunday. Thus, the final round was cancelled.
Harvard finished tied for 9th. They were only 3 shots from 6th place, and tied for the low Ivy League team with Yale. It was a disappointing finish in the context of the rest of the year, but the team definitely fought hard and gave it their best.
After 3 straight weekends on the road, the team will get a well-deserved weekend off this coming week. That should give them adequate time to stay caught up on school, get some rest, and prepare for their final event of the fall season: The Harvard Invitational. They will host this tournament on October 15th and 16th at Boston Golf Club – a Gil Hanse-designed gem in Hingham, Massachusetts. The team is confident and will work very hard to finish their fall season on a high note.
Thank you for your continued support!
Nittany Lion Women's Invit.
Penn State Blue Course StateCollege,PA
Tournament Dates: 09/30 - 10/01, 2011
Par: 72 72 Daily Low Round
Yardage: 6229 6229 Daily Leader Both
Fin Team Scores
1 Eastern Michigan 300 297 597 +21
T 2 Longwood University 292 307 599 +23
T 2 Penn State Univ. 305 294 599 +23
4 Charleston, Coll. of 304 298 602 +26
5 South Florida 303 303 606 +30
6 Cincinnati, U. of 316 305 621 +45
T 7 Georgetown U. 311 312 623 +47
T 7 Western Michigan U. 314 309 623 +47
T 9Harvard University 315 309 624 +48
T 9Yale University 317 307 624 +48
11 Wm. & Mary, Coll. of 316 313 629 +53
12 Columbia University 319 315 634 +58
13 Bucknell University 315 321 636 +60
14 Lehigh University 318 328 646 +70
15 Monmouth University 334 341 675 +99
Finish Name Scores
T 15 Tiffany Lim 76 75 151 +7
T 27 Bonnie Hu 78 76 154 +10
T 48 Brenna Nelsen 81 78 159 +15
T 53 Jane Lee 80 80 160 +16
80 Julie MacDonell 84 89 173 +29