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W. Golf Bests Dartmouth, Wins Fourth at Ivy Championship

By Joshua M. Murray, Contributing Writer

Going into the Ivy League Championships, the Harvard women’s golf team was looking for redemption.

After finishing behind Dartmouth two weeks ago at the Brown Spring Invitational, the Crimson hoped to one-up the Big Green by placing higher in its most prestigious tournament of the year. In a women’s golf league dominated by Yale, Princeton and Brown, Harvard and Dartmouth have developed their own rivalry. It has become so contested, in fact, that a trophy has been created and is given to the team that finishes higher in each week’s tournament.

Optimistic about its chances, Harvard headed to Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J., the site of this year’s Ivies, ready to take back what the players felt rightfully belonged to them.

“We are really eager to get one more shot at them and take back the Harvard/Dartmouth challenge cup,” said junior captain Merry Chiampa on Friday afternoon. “If we get our heads in the right place we can really end our season on a high note.”

That’s exactly what Harvard did—finishing in fourth, 46 strokes ahead of Dartmouth.

After playing a mentally and physically draining 36 holes Saturday, the first half of which occurred in the midst of heavy rain, the Crimson fought to stay ahead of its closest competitors.

“Maintaining your mental composure for 36 holes while it’s pouring rain, and then going out the next day to play 18 more was a real challenge,” said junior Kathryn Kuchefski. “You just have to find a way not to dwell on all of your past shots and to move on.”

Able to overcome this adversity, Harvard played well enough to find itself in fourth place after the first day of the tournament, ahead of Penn, whom the team initially believed it could not match up against, and archrival Dartmouth.

As the final groups headed down the last few holes, the Crimson made it clear that it was unwilling to relinquish its spot. Feeding off strong play by both Chiampa, who shot a third and final round score of 79, and Kuchefski, who finished the weekend with a round of 80, Harvard hung on to fourth with an aggregate 1002 score of 126-over-par. That was enough to put the Crimson 16 strokes ahead of fifth-place Penn.

“We’re very happy to have the trophy back for the summer,” Chiampa said. “It was a long, tough course that simply allowed the better team to win.”

Individually, Kuchefski was Harvard’s overall top scorer with a 24-over-par 241, nabbing sixth place in the competitive 30-player field. Chiampa, the next best scorer on the team, finished with a 30-over-par score of 247, landing her in a tie for 12th on the leaderboard. Rounding out the squad of five was freshman Jennifer Cronan, along with sophomores Carrie Baizer and Jeen-Joo Kang, who finished in a tie for 16th, 23rd and 28th, respectively.

For Kuchefski, it was her last tournament in a Crimson uniform. A visiting student from Amherst College, she studied at Harvard for one year and is returning next year to complete her college career back in western Massachusetts, where she will play Division III golf.

“[Harvard golf has] been a really great experience,” Kuchefski said. “I’ve loved it. Playing with a whole new set of people has truly been awesome.”

Kuchefski will be sorely missed, but the women’s team is still confident about the future of the program.

“We have a lot of positives coming out of this season and we’re getting closer to where we want to be,” Chiampa said. “Every season we get better and hopefully we can get to the point where we can consistently compete with the best in the Northeast.”

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