Harvard Women's Golf Takes 20th at NCAA West Regional

Harvard Women's Golf Takes 20th at NCAA West Regional

Courtney Hooton had two birdies Saturday (Casey Valentine).

STANFORD, Calif. -- The Harvard women's golf team posted its best score of the weekend, shooting a combined 299 on day three of the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Stanford at the Stanford Golf Course.

The Crimson earned seven birdies as a team Saturday and finished 20th out of 24 teams, posting a three-day score of 913 (309-305-299).

Southern Calfornia (859) edged Purdue (860) to win the regional. The Crimson finished with a better score than Miami (927), Northern Arizona (940), North Dakota State (947) and Long Island (961). Harvard was just four strokes behind Florida State (909).

Brenna Nelsen had the Crimson's best score of the weekend Saturday, finishing +1, shooting 72. She finished tied for 50th at 224. Bonnie Hu was one stroke behind Nelsen for the weekend (225) and placed tied for 55th.

Freshman Christine Lin rearned a Harvard-best eight birdies over the three days of action, including three on Saturday. She shot a combined 230 and was +4 Saturday (75). Rounding out the Harvard golfers were Courtney Hooton (234) who finished +5 on day three and Tiffany Lim (252).


By the Harvard women's golf team

After defending their Ivy League Championship title a couple weeks ago, the Crimson returned to sunny California for the NCAA West Regionals at the Stanford Golf Course.  The regional draw was fortunate as the team had played in the Stanford Invitational earlier in the fall and was familiar with the course. Just like in the fall, the Crimson had a huge show of support from each player's family members and long time supporters such as Mr. and Mrs. Rhoads (Kevin's parents) and Mr. and Mrs. Hazlett (parents of Jessica Hazlett, '08).  Unfortunately, because the tournament was taking place during the end of reading period and the start of finals period, team members had to spend most of their down time writing papers, studying for exams, and even taking exams.

The Crimson did not have its best start on Day 1, beginning with a team total of 309. Junior captain Bonnie Hu '14 and sophomore Brenna Nelsen '15 led the way with a pair of 2-over-par 73's.  Bonnie began her round with a bang, carding 2-under on the first nine.  Nelsen's round was characterized by consistent ball-striking and many good looks for birdie, an impressive feat given her recent ordeal with her lower-leg injury.  Christine Lin '16 and Courtney Hooton '16 followed with scores of 81 and 82, respectively, while Tiffany Lim '15 finished with an 85.  Scores were high in general, but Harvard sat in 21st place after coming in as the #20 seed.  Hooton finished off her day with her second Spanish exam in 2 days.

On Day 2, the team managed to improve on their previous team total by 4 strokes, finishing with a score of 305 and moving up to 19th place.  Lin posted the low score for the Crimson after a rocky start to her round. Thanks to her great putting and iron shots, she came back with 4 birdies to finish with a 74.  Hu finished with a 76 after struggling to make birdies despite her consistent ball striking.  Likewise, Hooton rallied during her round and improved on her first round score to also post a 76.  Nelsen managed 79.  After the round, Hu took a 3-hour Econ exam on the Stanford campus while the other team members did some practicing and a lot of studying.  That evening, Mr. and Mrs. Nelsen graciously invited all team members and family to have dinner at their house, providing a much needed, if brief, opport unity for rest and relaxation.

Saturday started early for Lin, as she had to take her 3 hour Math final before her round.  Continuing the trend, the team improved their team total once again on Day 3, breaking 300 and shooting a total of 299.  Nelsen's game continued to come together, and she posted a very respectable 72 despite a few shaky drives. Her round consisted of many scrambles to save par, even from outside of 125 yards, and some tough lip-outs for birdie.  Lin continued her solid play from Day 2 and finished with a 75, making 3 birdies in the process. Twins Hooton and Hu once again turned in a pair of 76's, and both of their rounds were characterized by many good holes combined with a few not-so-great holes. Lim had a solid day three, and finished with an 80 despite a high number on her final hole.

The team finished in 20th place – the same as their pre-tournament seeding.  It was a fun week from the standpoint of being in California again, playing a familiar course, and seeing family.  The team was disappointed not to perform a bit better. Regionals are always a challenge given that they take place during finals at the end of a long season. 
All in all, this season was a great success. The team overcame the most adversity of any team that Coach Rhoads has coached, in the form of two injuries, swing transition, only carrying five players on the team, and a coaching transition with Coach Rhoads coaching both the women's and men's team.  The team shot their lowest 54-hole and 18 hole team scores in program history, and at one point enjoyed their highest ranking ever as a program at #46 in the country. They had the Ivy Freshman of the year in Lin, and had seven individuals finish in the top 8 in tournaments including two by Lim, and had 3 All-Ivy selections.  They also won their second Ivy Championship in a row, and their fourth in six years.  It has been a fantastic year where the team has shown great character and resiliency, and Coach Rhoa ds has never been more proud. 
Thank you to all the parents, family members, and friends who came out to support the team at Stanford. Having you all there made the experience that much more meaningful for everyone on the team and served as an amazing ending to our 2012-2013 season. Special thanks to the Nelsen family for hosting a dinner for the team at their house on Friday night.