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After failing to win a tournament in a 2010-11 season marked by three second-place finishes, the Harvard women’s golf team came charging back in 2011-12 with five first-place finishes over the course of this season.
And even under blustery conditions, the Crimson was able to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming champions of the Ivy League. Harvard beat out Penn and Yale, who had taken the first-place crown from the Crimson last year, in order to claim its position atop the Ancient Eight for the first time in three years.
“Winning Ivies was definitely the highlight of our season,” freshman Tiffany Lim says. “That’s what we work for every year. If we win Ivies, we consider the whole year a success.”
Harvard’s victory at the championships gave the team a spot at the NCAA Central Regional Tournament. Coming in, the Crimson was ranked 22 out of 24 teams, but with a final score of 943 (+79), Harvard placed 18th.
Along with their championship victory, the Crimson’s players earned a number of individual accolades.
Lim, who was ranked sixth in the nation by Golfweek Magazine in the preseason, earned the title of Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Coming in ninth at the Ivy League Championship, Lim went on to finish 23rd at the NCAA Central Regional tournament. Shooting a 227 (+11), Lim was only five strokes short of individually qualifying for the NCAA finals.
Sophomore Bonnie Hu won a position on the All-Ivy First Team. Hu, who is also a Crimson business editor, earned first place individually at the Ivy League Championships with a score of 225 (+12). Senior Jane Lee, along with Lim, also earned an All-Ivy Second Team nod.
Harvard came out of the gate strong with a first-place finish in its first tournament of the season, the Yale Intercollegiate. The Crimson’s score of 894 (+30) gave Harvard a 16-stroke edge over second-place Longwood University. Lim tied Yale’s Seo Hee Moon for first place individually, shooting a 218 (+2).
The Crimson did not slow down in its next contest either.
Harvard took first place once again with a team score of 906 (+42) at the Princeton Women’s Invitational, and Lim continued her breakout success with another event win.
The rookie posted the low score in each of the three rounds to finish with a 213 (-3).
But the win streak was snapped at the Nittany Lion Invitational, where the Crimson finished ninth. Lim was the top Harvard golfer in the scores, notching 15th place with a 151 (+7).
“I think we remained pretty consistent throughout the whole year,” Lim says. “A couple of tournaments were stronger than others, but we still performed how we wanted to. In the stronger tournaments, we may not have won, but we came out stronger players.”
The team had its last fall tournament at its own Harvard Invitational, where it tied for second place with Columbia. Hu came in second individually with a score of 155 (+11), while Lim finished a shot behind Hu to place third.
And after the winter break, it didn’t take long for the Crimson to regain its momentum.
“The team did a really good job with getting into competition mode after a long winter season,” captain Christine Cho says. “Everyone did a good job with adjusting quickly.”
The Crimson entered the spring season with an 11-stroke win against Nova Southeastern. Harvard then travelled to compete in the Rebel Intercollegiate tournament and placed 10th against a tough field. Hu earned the top individual score for the team, 230 (+14).
The Roar-EE Invitational was the Crimson’s final regular season tournament before the Ivy League Championships. Harvard took first, beating second-place Columbia by six strokes. Lee paced the Crimson with a 145 (+1), good for second place. Freshman Brenna Nelsen followed in sixth place, and Lim came in at 14th.
Harvard rode this first-place momentum to victory at the Ivy League Championships.
“We take a lot of pride in what we did and what we have done,” Harvard coach Kevin Rhoads says. “I think we will continue to be more and more competitive every year. We have to be a little bit more efficient than everyone else, but I think the girls are motivated to do that.”
—Staff writer Claire K. Dailey can be reached at email@example.com.
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