W. Golf Cruises in Season Opener

Christopher T. Chen

Senior Ashwin Kumar and the Harvard men’s tennis team had a solid showing at the University of Virginia’s Fall Invitational. In an unusual tournament with nine separate singles brackets and four separate doubles brackets, freshman Alexei Chijoff-Evans won

The Harvard women’s golf team opened its 2007-08 campaign in midseason form, trouncing all comers at the Dartmouth Women’s Invitational this weekend.

Playing with an almost mechanical consistency, all five Crimson golfers finished in the top seven in a field of 74 at the hilly and windy Hanover Country Club.

Harvard’s combined two-day score of 603 was more than 42 strokes lower than that of second-place Siena.

“In the first tournament of the year, we’re always trying to feel things out,” coach Kevin Rhoads said.

He called the Crimson’s weekend showing a “really well-balanced effort.”

None of Harvard’s golfers shot over 79 in any round in a tournament where the average round was an 86.

Junior Ali Bode led the Crimson with a second-place individual finish. Her combined score of 147 was three over par and one only shot behind the tournament’s winner, Hayley Millbourn of Amherst.

Her second-round 73 was the low score of the day.

“It feels great to be out there with the team again,” Bode said. “We were hitting the ball very straight, which was important for this course.”

According to Bode, the course’s firm greens and high winds put a premium on accurate driving and iron play.

Sophomore Claire Sheldon and junior Emily Balmert tied for fourth, each shooting eight over par for the tournament. Sheldon shot successive rounds of 76, while Balmert improved on her first round score of 78 with a 74 yesterday.

They were followed by sophomore Sarah Harvey, whose 10 over par combined score of 154 tied her for sixth individually.

Freshman Mia Kabasakalis tied for seventh in her first collegiate tournament, shooting a 77-78, 11 over par overall.

“Mia proved she was ready to go out there and play with us,” Balmert said. “She seemed very comfortable out there, and she played very consistently.”

Harvard will need all the consistency it can muster this coming weekend, as it heads to Princeton to play in a tournament featuring the rival Tigers as well as Ivy League foes Columbia and Yale.

Down the road, on Oct. 6 and 7, comes the all-important ECAC Championship.

—Staff writer Jonathan B. Steinman can be reached at