The Harvard women’s golf team will step onto the fairways and greens of the Boston Golf Club in Hingham, Mass., Saturday to host the Harvard Invitational in what will be the squad’s final competition of the fall season.
After its ninth-place finish out of 15 competitors in the Nittany Lion Invitational held by Penn State last weekend, Harvard plans to take advantage of the chance to resume its winning ways.
“[Penn State] was not what we hoped,” Rhoads said. “We were short on practice that week ... there was a lot going on. We had a little bit more preparation in between, and the girls are motivated.”
Prior to its relatively poor finish in Pennsylvania, the Crimson had opened its 2011-12 campaign with two consecutive tournament victories. It has worked hard in practice this week with the intention of getting back on track.
“[Penn State] helped us prepare for [the Harvard Invitational],” freshman Tiffany Lim said. “We didn’t play so well, so it really motivated us to work harder this week. We’ve been really grinding it out this week.”
Lim, the nation’s sixth-ranked incoming freshman according to Golf Magazine, will attempt to medal this weekend, as she previously did at the Yale and Princeton Invitationals, where she took first place in both. Captain Christine Cho, senior Jane Lee, sophomore Bonnie Hu—a member of The Crimson business board—and freshman Brenna Nelsen will likely round out the golfers for Harvard, which has already faced a number of the other Ivy schools so far this season and come out on top.
At the Yale Invitational on Sept. 17, the Crimson took first out of 15 teams—which included the hosts, who came fourth, and Brown, who finished sixth. Harvard also topped the Bears, Columbia, Dartmouth, and the host Tigers at the Princeton Invitational a week later. But this weekend will present the first opportunity for the Crimson to see all of the Ancient Eight’s squads in action on the same course and measure itself accordingly.
“This is an Ivy-only event,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “Cornell doesn’t have a women’s team, so the seven Ivy women’s programs will be there. It’s an additional motivation; it’s kind of a fall preview as to where the Ivies stack up.”
“It’s a chance to see where we compare to the other Ivy teams,” Rhoads added. “The other teams are very competitive as well, so if we slip a little bit, the other teams can slip in and fill the spot we’ve been in this fall.”
Although the invitational is technically considered a home meet, the Boston Golf Club, located 18 miles south of Boston, is not the Crimson’s home course. The fact that Harvard has played on the course should not provide too much of an advantage over its league rivals.
“It’s a really nice course, [but] we don’t get to play there that often,” Cho said. “The course is really tricky, and we’ll have to be really sharp going into it.”
Rhoads echoed his captain’s concerns.
“It’s a great golf course, but it’s a hard golf course, so the sharper we are, the easier it will make it,” Rhoads said. “If you’re a little not sharp on this golf course, it will magnify your errors.”
Weather should not be an issue, as the forecast predicts clear skies. The recent rain may make the course a bit soggy, but the Crimson now has experience with poor conditions after dealing with precipitation at Penn State, where the competition’s final round had to be canceled due to unplayable conditions on the course.“
"The last tournament we played in was really helpful for this tournament, because the weather at the last tournament was really bad,” Cho said. “At least if it does rain, [we’ve] had [Penn State] to prepare.”
The team remains optimistic moving forward into the weekend tournament and the upcoming spring season.
“I’m confident in where we are,” Rhoads said. “I think that we’ve been moving in a good direction in the past week and a half or so in between Penn State and now.”