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After never winning a tournament last year, the Harvard women’s golf team notched its second first-place finish just two tournaments into the 2011 season.
One week after claiming first at the Yale Invitational, the Crimson has again come out on top in this past weekend’s Princeton Invitational.
With a team three-round score of 906, 42 above par (302-301-303), Harvard held on four strokes ahead of Brown and nine ahead of Columbia in the 12-team tournament.
This was the lowest the Crimson had ever scored at Princeton’s Springdale Golf Club.
“I’m proud of the girls for getting the job done,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said.
Once again, highly-touted freshman Tiffany Lim led the Crimson to victory, finishing first in the tournament at three under par and holding the tournament’s lowest single-round score of 70 in the second round.
Sophomore Bonnie Hu, who is also a member of the Crimson business board, freshman Brenna Nelson, captain Christine Cho, and sophomore Julie MacDonnell tied for eighth, 13th, 40th, and 48th, respectively.
Rainy conditions throughout the weekend plagued the course, making it very difficult for all 12 teams. But the weather may have proved advantageous for the Crimson, which started four California natives who, according to Lim, are more accustomed to rainy conditions.
“We were prepared for [the rain], and we knew what to do when we encountered it,” said Lim, who posted a three-round total of 213. “When it does rain [in California], we are still out there practicing, whereas on the East Coast, when there is bad weather, people aren’t outside practicing. We are out there 365 days a year, so we’re used to playing in worse weather.”
Just because the Crimson might have been more accustomed to the rain didn’t mean it was a walk in the park, as wet conditions make putts harder to finish.
“It was difficult to make a lot of putts,” Rhoads said. “Within our team or any of the other teams, I saw very few putts made outside of three feet.”
Harvard jumped out to an early lead, posting a first-round score of 302—one stroke ahead of Brown and Rollins College.
But the squad separated itself from the pack in the second round, shooting a 301—its best score of the tournament—to pull ahead by five strokes.
Entering the final round yesterday, Lim felt the Crimson’s lead was far from secure.
“[Five strokes] is essentially nothing—anything can happen,” Lim said. “So we just tried to ignore our placement, ignore the scores, and play our own game.”
Hu and Nelson stepped up in the final round, posting their best scores of the tournament.
Hu notched 74 strokes with Nelson one behind at 75. Lim had another standout round with a score of 71, the lowest among the field.
“We struggled a little [yesterday], but we still managed to pull through, and I think that was a great thing,” said Hu, who finished with a three-round score of 224, eight above par.
“It was a busy week for us,” Rhoads said. “We had recruits in town, and school was starting to get very tough, and we had to leave super early Friday morning, and also the tough weather. Given the circumstances, I am very proud of them, and it’s definitely a good way to start the season.”
Harvard heads to a tournament at Penn State this upcoming weekend hopeful to continue its winning streak.
“[We will] try to bring the best game that we can to Penn State because we’d certainly like to continue the trend of how we started the season,” Rhoads said.
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