Though its focus never wavers from the all-important Ivy Championships in late April, the Harvard women’s golf team has made sure to devote plenty of time to facing off against non-conference competition. While anything but first place at an Ancient Eight tournament might be a disappointment for the Crimson, its goals for national events are typically more modest and centered on its development for league play.
The 54-hole Ole Miss BancorpSouth Rebel Intercollegiate, held from April 6-8, proved to be no exception, as the Crimson was content to finish 10th among a 15-team field that included three squads in the top 50 of the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
“We knew this tournament had a tough field, so we were expecting to be about the middle of the pack,” freshman Tiffany Lim said. “Overall, we were really pleased with how we performed, and we know that our games can compete just as well as these other schools.”
Hosted by Ole Miss at the Ole Miss Golf Course in Oxford, Miss., the three-day tournament was won by No. 18 Baylor with a total score of 871 (+7). Eight strokes behind was No. 41 Tulsa, and the 34th-ranked Ole Miss ended up in third.
Harvard finished 47 strokes over par at 911.
Senior Jaclyn Jansen took the individual title for Baylor, while Lim led the No. 104 Crimson with a 224 (+8), which placed her in a tie for 14th individually. The standout rookie has turned in her squad’s top performance in all but one of Harvard’s six events in 2011-12.
“The first couple days she didn’t hit it quite as well, but then she putted well. [Sunday] she actually hit it quite well and didn’t make as many putts,” Crimson coach Kevin Rhoads said. “It worked that way with everyone. Each day, one thing kind of didn’t work as well.”
Lim’s worst showing—a 76 (+4)—came in the final round Sunday, when Harvard’s five representatives totaled their highest combined score of the tournament.
Though the weather was not a factor, Lim pointed to the par-72, 6,313-yard course’s length, numerous hills, and fast greens as challenges unique to a non-Ivy tournament. Also responsible for the squad’s uneven performance was a build-up of rust accumulated during the colder months.
“This weekend, we saw some really good play and also some mistakes that might be left over from not playing as much over the winter,” captain Christine Cho said.
While the event was Baylor’s fourth team tournament of the spring season—and its second victory—the Crimson resumed outdoor play just last month. It defeated Nova Southeastern, a Division II team, three weeks ago in its only other competitive play of the spring.
“We were proud of the way we played given how much preparation we had,” Lim said.
The Crimson finished the first round on April 6 in sixth place—ahead of teams including No. 55 Maryland and No. 76 Kansas State—before a 301 on Saturday dropped it to eighth.
“Everyone played good stretches. It’s just hard for anyone to put [54 holes] together right now,” Rhoads said.
It might have finished worse than 10th place for the weekend if not for a charge by freshman Brenna Nelsen. Lim’s only classmate on the squad, Nelsen rebounded from a first-round 80 (+8) to shoot a combined 145 (+1) over the next two days.
“Besides the first six holes of the tournament, she played great the whole time,” Rhoads said.
Sophomore Bonnie Hu, who is also a Crimson business editor, finished in a tie for 41st overall with a three-day total of 230 (+14).
Cho and classmate Jane Lee finished in ties for 73rd and 76th, respectively, to round out the team’s effort.
—Staff writer Dennis J. Zheng can be reached at email@example.com.