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Even in the midst of winds that reached 40 miles per hour, the Harvard women’s golf team was able to keep its winning streak alive and earn a first-place finish at the Ivy League Championships this past weekend.
Sophomore Bonnie Hu took first place individually at the three-day tournament, shooting a score of 225 (+12) to earn the wire-to-wire victory at the par-71 Seaview Bay Course in Galloway, N.J.
Riding the momentum from a victory at its last tournament, the Roar-EE Invitational, the Crimson took its first league championship in three years.
With an overall team score of 952 (+100), Harvard finished six strokes better than second-place finisher Penn. Yale, which edged out the Crimson for first place in last year’s Ancient Eight showdown, earned a third-place finish with a score of 962 (+110).
Columbia (+120), Brown (+133), Princeton (+163), and Dartmouth (+177) rounded out the bottom four spots
“We haven’t won in three years, but each year the team is different,” said Hu, who is also a Crimson business editor. “There was definitely pressure because we knew that we were good enough to win.”
In addition to the team’s Ivy League title, the Crimson earned a host of individual accolades. Hu was named to the All-Ivy First Team, and senior Jane Lee received second-team honors.
After being ranked as the sixth best freshman in the nation coming into the year by Golfweek Magazine, freshman Tiffany Lim was also awarded the Ivy League Rookie of the Year accolade.
Lim added to her success this weekend by placing ninth individually with a score of 241 (+28). She was closely followed by Lee, who tied for 10th after shooting a 244 (+31).
The entire Crimson squad finished in the top 15 individually.
Freshman Brenna Nelsen shot a 246 (+33) en route to a tie for 12th place. Senior Christine Cho came in right behind Nelson by finishing tied for 15th with an overall score of 247 (+34).
Despite Harvard’s ultimate victory, the weekend did not begin well for the Crimson. After round one, which featured unusually difficult playing conditions, Harvard sat in third place behind the Quakers and the Bulldogs, shooting a 332.
Hu was still able to notch a 77 on Friday, putting her in the first-place position. Lim shot an 83, followed by Lee with an 86.
“It was really tough on Friday because of the winds,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads said. “The greens were fast and sloped, and there were super tough tee placements. We saw lots of people doing lots of crazy things, so it became how much [we could] stay focused and rely on the skills that [we] have and not get distracted by what’s going on.”
Lim said, “None of us had ever played in conditions like that before, so we weren’t completely prepared. We did a really good job with our mental game and managing the putt position. Otherwise, we would have never been in the position that we were going into the last few days.”
Hu stayed in control on Saturday, shooting a 73 to maintain a three-shot lead over Penn’s Isabel Han and Columbia’s Michelle Piyapattra, the Ivy League Player of the Year.
Lim rallied on Saturday for her best day of the tournament, shooting a 78. And behind Lim and Hu, Harvard shot a 308 on Saturday, the best single-day performance of any team at the championships, to take the lead going into the tournament’s final day.
The Crimson led the way again on Sunday with a score of 312, shooting the low score for the second day in a row.
Hu earned a comfortable five-stroke victory with a 75 on Sunday.
“[Hu] hit it really far[and] straight all week,” Rhoads said. “She was controlling her distances[and] her mental game well. She led the field in putting which, as difficult as the greens were, was the most pivotal part of the tournament.”
Lee’s 76 was her best round of the tournament. Lim shot an 80 to fall to ninth place, while Nelson and Cho followed with an 82 and an 81, respectively.
The Crimson now faces its next challenge at the NCAA Regional tournament on May 10th at the Penn State Golf Courses.
“We knew that we had a shot to go to Regionals before coming into the tournament,” Lim said. “We knew that if we just did our job and played well at the tournament, we’d make it in. Now that we did win, we have some confidence going into [NCAAs].”
—Staff writer Claire K. Dailey can be reached at email@example.com.
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