Harvard women's golf placed first among 15 teams (Columbia Athletics).
By head coach Kevin Rhoads
April 13-14 saw the Harvard Women’s Golf Team play their final regular season tournament at Columbia’s Roar-EE Invitational. After a 1-year hiatus, they returned to the Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern, NY. Spook Rock was built in 1970 and is characterized by rolling terrain, tree-lined fairways, but mostly by the challenging, sloping greens. With the gorgeous but dry weather that the Northeast has experienced this winter and spring, the greens were very firm and the speeds were increasing. Thus, big first bounces and treacherous putting made for challenging conditions and high scores for the majority of the field.
Temperatures were in the low 60’s and the wind was a factor on Day 1. In the first round Harvard set the pace. They shot 306 to take a 3-stroke lead over tournament host Columbia. Bonnie Hu (’14, Fremont, CA) led the Crimson in round 1, where she used a holed bunker shot for an eagle on #15 to shoot even par on the back. Her 74 left her one behind the individual leaders. Jane Lee (’12, Alamo, CA) tied her low round of the year with 75. Brenna Nelsen (’15, Monte Sereno, CA) shot 77, Tiffany Lim (’15, San Jose, CA) shot 80, and Christine Cho (’12, La Crescenta, CA) shot 82.
Day 2 saw even better weather, with temperatures reaching the mid-70’s, and the greens drying out even more. Scores soared for the majority of the field, with all but two teams in the field failing to break 310. Harvard hung tough, and shot one of their best rounds of the season.
In her second to last tournament playing for the Crimson, Lee was fantastic. She shot a 2-under-par 70. It was the second-low round of the day and gave her a 2-day total of 145. Columbia’s Michelle Piyapattra shot 69 and was able to slip past Lee by one stroke for the individual title. Lee finished 3 shots clear of 3rd place Harin Lee from St. Johns, who like Bonnie Hu, was an individual qualifier for NCAA Regionals last year. All of this was accomplished by Lee while she was sick with the flu. She became symptomatic during her second round of qualifying for Columbia’s tournament, and admirably pushed through. She even wore a facemask in the van ride down to Columbia to protect her teammates. To play her best tournament round ever, to secure her best college tournament finish ever, to do it while sick, and to help secure her team’s finish were extremely satisfying. And help the team she did.
On a day when scores were high, the Crimson shot 294 to win by 6 over Columbia, and by 25 shots over 3rd place St. Johns. Nelsen continued her strong play in shooting 74 to tie for 6th. Lim and Cho improved to 75’s with Lim finishing in 14th and Cho T-16th. Hu shot an uncharacteristic 83 and tied for 16th. On a tricky course that only saw one other team - the host school - play well, Harvard picked up another impressive win to go with wins at Yale and Princeton in the fall and against Nova Southeastern this spring.
It was a good tune-up for the Crimson, as they now set their sights on the Ivy Championship. The tournament site stays in the Atlantic City, NJ area but to a new site – the Bay Course at Seaview Golf Resort in Galloway. Atlantic City Country Club, hosted three of the last four women’s Ivy’s.
The team has this weekend off from competition, and will be working hard preparing for a great week next week. We’ll take all the luck and well wishes you can send.