Women's Golf Finishes Sixth at Princeton Invitational

Women's Golf Finishes Sixth at Princeton Invitational

Princeton Women's Invitational
Springdale G.C. Princeton, NJ
September 18 & 19, 2010

By Kevin Rhoads

The Harvard Women's team began their 2010-2011 season September 18-19 at at the Princeton Invitational.  Following another stellar season which saw Havard win all but one of their regular season tournaments or matches, Harvard had ended their 2010 campaign with a stinging and surprising loss at The Ivy Championship. 2010-2011 is a new year, however. This year's version of the team has new faces, and will need to create their own identity.

On the surface this lineup has the seeds of another standout Harvard team. While the team lost two important team members Claire Sheldon and Sarah Harvey to graduation, they had bolstered their lineup with two impressive freshman in Bonnie Hu from Freemont, California, and Fritzi Reuter from Leonberg, Germany. In addition to the two freshmen, this week's traveling squad included captain Mia Kabasakalis, 2010 Ivy Player of the Year Christine Cho and 2010 Ivy Freshman of the Year Katie Sylvan.

Two themes were to set the tone for this tournament. First, as upper classmen trying to prepare for life after Harvard, summer work and study precluded Kabasakalis, Cho, and Sylvan from competing throughout the summer.  On Princeton's Springdale Golf Club, located adjacent to Princeton's campus, sharpness is required to score well.  Springdale's William Flynn-designed course always plays challenging and tricky. The green edges raise then fall off, and are depressed in the middles. This puts a premium on approaches to greens, and especially on putting and short game. These are all areas which take time to sharpen. 

Second, the influx of talent into the Ivy League is exciting. It is also going to test Harvard's resolve and will to improve.  Each Ivy team, including Harvard, was able to recruit players ranked in the top 100 in the country. In a stunning show of the new talent on display in the League, the seven top finishers in Princeton's tournament were freshmen. 

For Harvard's part, lack of sharpness was the main story. Day one was a 36-hole day, meaning two rounds were played on the same day. Harvard got off to a start that would have been considered mediocre any of the last couple of years, but was pretty disastrous given the level of play in the league this year. Harvard shot 316 to trail leading Princeton by 15 shots. This left Harvard in sixth place out of twelve teams - territory that the Crimson haven't seen in years when facing Northeast competition. 

Harvard followed their lackluster first round with the best round that they have had at Princeton, a combined eight over par for the four counting scorers. Hu lead the Crimson with her first under-par round at Harvard, shooting an impressive two-under par 70 - the second low round of the tournament.  In this round she even got it to 4-under par at one point.  Cho also bounced back impressively with 73, followed by Reuter with 74. Kabasakalis and Sylvan each shot 79 to post a combined 296. Unfortunatley Yale posted 292, and Harvard was unable to makeup any ground on the lead. 

Day two saw the third and final round being played in gorgeous conditions but with difficult pin positions.  Harvard hoped to make a run towards the lead, but could only manage a fairly respectable 308 total. Cho led the Crimson with another 73, and Hu shot 74. Kabasakalis shot 80, followed by Sylvan at 81 and Reuter at 83.  Harvard's 308 again lost ground to eventual champion Yale, who shot 302. Yale's three round total of 896 earned them the championship and left Harvard in unfamiliar territory at 6th place out of 12 teams.      

As this is only the first tournament of the year, and Harvard only had one poor round, there should not be cause for alarm.  But it is a wakeup call that the level of play in the league has risen. If Harvard wants to retain their relative level within the league they will have to work very hard – as hard as teams the previous years have had to work to attain that position. They have the ability to make that happen.  It will be fun trying. 

Next week Harvard will play in the Golfweek Conference. It will be the second year in a row playing in a field containing representatives from the 17 major conferences. This year's event has moved from Las Vegas to Red Sky Golf Club outside Vail, Colorado. The Crimson are excited to again represent the Ivy League in this unique event. 

Par: 72 72 72
Yardage: 6108 6108 6108
Fin Team Round:          1 Round: 2 Round: 3 Total

1 Yale University                   302 +1 292 302 896 +32
2 Princeton University          301 295 +2 303 +3 899 +35
3 Pennsylvania, Univ          310 +9 298 +14 299 +11 907 +43
4 Georgetown U.                   306 +5 300 +12 302 +12 908 +44
5 Rollins                            304 +3 310 +20 296 +14 910 +46
6 Harvard University          316 +15 296 +18 308 +24 920 +56

T 4 Bonnie Hu Harvard 78 +6 70 +6 74 +9 222 +6
T 10 Christine Cho Harvard 79 +7 73 +10 73 +12 225 +9
T 32 Friederike Reuter Harvard 80 +8 74 +12 83 +24 237 +21
T 35 Mia Kabasakalis Harvard 79 +7 79 +16 80 +25 238 +22
T 47 Katie Sylvan Harvard 84 +12 79 +21 81 +31 244 +28