After practicing in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for a week, the Harvard women’s golf team got back in the swing of things in a match against Nova Southeastern on Thursday. Playing the 6130-yard, par-72 PGA National course in North Palm Beach, the Crimson beat the Sharks by 11 strokes, 311-322.
Though ranked lower than Nova Southeastern and unable to take advantage of continuous outdoor practices during the winter months, the Crimson squad all posted sub-80 scores, with freshman Tiffany Lim leading the way with a 75. Sophomore Bonnie Hu, also a Crimson business editor, followed with a 78, and freshman Brenna Nelsen, senior Jane Lee, and Cho all shot 79.
“The match that we play over spring break is always a little tough,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “It’s competition after only a couple days outdoors. I expect to see good scores hole-by-hole and strange scores hole-by-hole. It was windy [on Thursday], and Nova is ranked in the top 80. To play pretty well, come away with a victory, and to see mostly good scores is quite encouraging.”
Though Harvard won as a team, Sharks freshmen Liliana Cammisa had the best round of the day, shooting a 74. Junior Abbey Gittings shot a 79, while senior Claudia Wolf and freshman Daniela Ortiz posted scores of 81 and 88, respectively.
The weather proved to be a factor for both teams, as the players struggled against the wind and thunderstorms forced an hour break in the contest. After playing in an indoor facility for so long, the Crimson had to battle the unfamiliar.
“The weather made the course pretty tough to play. [The break] threw off the normal rhythm of the 18-hole round, but all of us handled it pretty well,” captain Christine Cho said. “The best thing that we did was stay consistent with our games. They weren’t as sharp as we wanted them to be, but we all hung on there and grinded it out. We managed the course really well.”
“The best part of the team’s play was staying organized with all their pieces and managing things correctly,” Rhoads added. “It was raining [Thursday], and they were playing an unfamiliar course. They stayed organized and didn’t panic and worked on their individual pieces.”
In order to prepare for the first match of the spring season, the squad practiced indoors all winter, but this past week marked the first time that the Harvard team had the opportunity to return to the elements.
“We try to follow a basic script and practice a lot the first two days. They all know from the indoor work what their packages are, what they need to work on,” Rhoads said. “The ball play gives you enough information to work on the micro-corrections. The first couple days are trying to implement the micro-corrections. They try to put all those skills together.”
“They’ve been at in Saturday to Wednesday,” Rhoads continued. “For the most part, I’m pleased.”
Despite the victory, the team acknowledges that there is plenty of room for improvement.
“All of us are still rusty considering the long break that we’ve had,” Cho said “A lot of us could definitely go lower. We need to continue getting warmed up and getting our games back in order.”
But so far, early in the spring season, Rhoads is pleased with the squad’s progress.
“Most of what we need to work on is tiny corrections that should be fixed with time,” Rhoads said. “We are a little ahead of where we normally are in the year. We just need to stay hungry going into the rest of the season.”
Harvard will suit up next at the Rebel Intercollegiate at Ole Miss Golf Club on April 7-8.
—Staff writer Saira Khanna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.