Young Squad Continues Quest To Regain Past Season’s Form
Again the Ivy League’s lone representative at the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the Harvard women’s golf team returned to the national event this weekend hoping for a repeat of last year’s top-seven performance.
But after the Crimson’s 13th-place finish in the tournament’s 18-team field, it is clear that the squad still has a ways to go before returning to the level of play that earned it four wins last season—and not to mention two out of the last three Ivy titles.
“Last year was a particularly good finish—our tie for seventh in that field was as good as we played all year,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “It’s easy to want to compare to that, but I thought if we’d had a very good tournament [this year], we would finish around 10th. To finish 13th is not terribly different, given the caliber of competition.”
Competing Sunday through yesterday on the Fazio Course at Red Sky Golf Club in Vail, Colo., the Crimson put together a three-round total of 940 (310-314-316), 74 strokes over par.
“We didn’t play as well as I would have liked us to, but we showed some signs of improvement from last week,” Rhoads said. “It doesn’t look like that from our scores, but that’s not representative of how difficult the golf course was.”
Virginia took home the overall prize with a 13-over 877, edging pre-tournament favorite Arizona by six strokes. Cavalier sophomore Brittany Altomare medaled with a four-under 212.
Harvard freshman Bonnie Hu continued the sparkling start to her collegiate career, leading the Crimson with an 11-over 227 (73-79-75). The rookie’s strong showing placed her in a tie for 30th among the 90-member field.
“I was hitting the ball pretty well, and my putting was decent,” Hu said. “I kind of struggled the second day, but other than that I played pretty well.”
Hu was also Harvard’s top scorer at last week’s Princeton Invitational.
“She hits it pretty far, she hits it pretty high, she’s quite accurate, and she’s a good putter as well,” Rhoads said. “She really doesn’t have weaknesses, and that type of game tends to travel quite well.”
Junior Christine Cho—the reigning Ivy Player of the Year—turned in another solid trio of rounds, six strokes behind Hu with a 233 (76-77-80).
“It was a course that favored people who can hit it pretty far and pretty high, so she had to certainly make do with the fact that she doesn’t hit it as far as some of the longest hitters,” Rhoads said. “For what she had to work with, she did quite well.”
“The course was a little long for me,” Cho agreed. “I was just trying my best to save par and not get bogeys.”
“I actually wasn’t hitting it that great, so I saved a lot of strokes with getting up and down and making a lot of clutch par putts,” she added.
The play of classmate Jane Lee was also noteworthy, as the junior managed to submit the team’s third-best score, a 23-over 239 (80-79-80), despite having failed to qualify for last week’s event.