In the final tournament of the fall season, the Harvard women’s golf team tied for second after entering the final round with a seven-stroke lead at the Boston Golf Club.
“It’s a disappointing result,” said Crimson coach Kevin Rhoads of the second annual Harvard Invitational. “We definitely were looking forward to seeing if we could win our home tournament, our last tournament of the fall, and be undefeated against all of the Ivies in the tournaments we played this fall.”
Yet it was not meant to be for the Crimson, as the squad of five golfers combined to shoot 331 Sunday after posting a score of 311 in the first round. With a total score of 642, Harvard tied Columbia University for second place, finishing five behind the University of Pennsylvania.
“We didn’t have a huge lead over Penn to start the round, so just a few strokes difference between players in each group was enough to make them catch up to us,” captain Christine Cho said. “Some bad holes and big numbers cost us the round.”
While the Quakers did ultimately best the Crimson, Harvard sophomore Bonnie Hu, who is also a member of The Crimson’s business board, and freshman Tiffany Lim individually finished second and third, respectively—better than any individual player from Penn.
Rhoads said the course played a large role in the team’s disappointing round Sunday.
“On the scorecard, they are not hard holes, but in actual fact, they play very difficult unless you really control your golf balls,” he said. “The wind and the layout combination are what made the scores so high [Sunday].”
The Crimson wasn’t the only team affected by tough playing conditions, as other competitors posted scores as high as 10 or 12 on single holes.
“[Sunday] was supposed to be an easier day weather-wise, but the average score was something like 88, which is super crazy,” Rhoads said.
According to the coach, Saturday’s results were more indicative of the team’s level of play. The fast start may have been due in part to extra motivation after Harvard’s ninth-place finish at the Nittany Lion Invitational. None of the Crimson golfers finished higher than 15th, and the team returned home without a trophy in tow for the first time this season.
“The team was motivated a little bit by the previous week, and they had more time to prepare than they did for Penn State, so we saw some good scores accordingly,” Rhoads said.
Even in the first round, there was room for improvement.
“Our four and five [players’] scores weren’t quite as good. The conditions didn’t quite suit [them],” Rhoads said.
Although the weekend’s action took place less than 40 minutes away in Hingham, Mass., the team was unable to fully benefit from its home-court advantage.
“We played the tournament as a host team but it was a course we were unfamiliar with just like everyone else. We only had one and half more practice rounds than everyone else,” Rhoads said.