The Harvard women’s golf team battled adverse conditions this weekend at the Brown Invitational, rebounding after a poor first day to finish fourth.
The Crimson posted a second-round 325 en route to an overall score of 666, but its opening-day 341 hindered Harvard in its pursuit of the eventual champion Bears.
The elements were not kind to the Crimson on Saturday, as rain had soaked the course.
“The conditions were really tough when we teed off in the morning,” junior captain Merry Chiampa said. “We had to putt through puddles because the greens were soaked. The holes were full of water.”
The conditions also limited Harvard’s pre-tournament preparation.
“We couldn’t go down ahead of time and play a practice round,” Chiampa said. “We’d never seen the course before.”
There were other factors at work, however, besides the weather.
“We’ve played pretty well in bad weather before,” sophomore Carrie Baizer said. “It can’t be an excuse.”
Chiampa led the team throughout the weekend, posting a scores of 81-80-161 to rebound from her poor showing in last weekend’s Bucknell Spring Classic, which she considered perhaps the worst golf that she has played in her college career.
“Merry was hitting the ball well,” Baizer said. “She was really bummed after last week, so it was really good for her confidence.”
Sophomore J.J. Kang and junior Kathryn Kuchefski each improved upon their scores on the second day in support of Chiampa, as Kuchefski scored an 87-81-168 and Kang carded an 85-83-168. Kang’s Sunday 83 was dropped, as only the top four scores count toward the team score.
“We dropped an 83,” said Chiampa. “It’s really fun to have five good scores and have to drop a good one.”
On Saturday, an 83 would have been the Crimson’s second-best score.
Freshman Jennifer Cronan shot an 88-82-170 for Harvard, while Baizer recovered from an opening-day 93 with an 82 on Sunday.
“It’s always motivation when you have the score that is dropped the first day,” Baizer said. “I felt like I owed it to the team to play well [on Sunday]”.
Harvard was also pleased with Baizer’s ability to rally from a poor Saturday showing.
“That was phenomenal,” Chiampa said. “That was not her game the first day. It’s just a mental thing. Golf is all mental.”
In stark contrast to the individualistic nature of golf, the Crimson was pleased that it was able to come together as a team, especially on the second day.
“In team golf, every stroke counts,” Chiampa said. “We’re doing a really good job of motivating ourselves and focusing on the team instead of the individual.”
Harvard hopes that its strong play on Sunday bodes well for the Ivy League Championships, which will take place in New Jersey on April 26 and 27.
After finishing behind Dartmouth this weekend, the Crimson has some added incentive to play well at the Championships.
“We want to beat Dartmouth,” Baizer said. “We need to win back the [Harvard-Dartmouth Challenge] Cup. We’d like it to stay in Cambridge for the summer.”
The Crimson had been in possession of the Cup until this weekend.