The Harvard men and women’s golf teams will be travelling to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for the Ivy League Golf Championship this weekend. Having performed well in their recent tournaments these past few weeks, both squads are serious contenders for the championship.
The Crimson placed among the top six in all three of their tournaments this spring. Notching fifth out of 14 teams in their first tournament in March at the Seahawk Intercollegiate set the tone for what would be a succession of solid tournament performances. At the Met Intercollegiate Harvard placed third out of nine and finally finished in sixth place out of 14 at the Yale Invitational.
“Our season has been going really well,’ junior Rohan Ramnath said. “We’ve been building up to Ivies for about a month now. As everyone knows, the winter was a little bit harsh this year so it was difficult for us to prepare for our early tournaments, but we’ve made a lot of progress since the beginning of March.”
The Crimson entered last year’s Ivy League Championship as a favorite, but exited with a third place finish. However, Harvard has notched victories against last year’s champions Columbia and rival Yale. It will be the second seed in the tournament this year.
The team placed higher than Yale in the Met Intercollegiate and was three spots ahead of Columbia at the Seahawk Intercollegiate. Harvard lost the fifth place position in the Yale Spring Invitational to Yale by one shot. However, because the tournament contained five top-40 teams, the sixth place victory was an impressive one.
“Our game plan is to treat [the Ivies] just like any other tournament,” Ramnath said. “Treating it differently adds pressure and we don’t need that. We stack up really well against the other teams, and we’re just going to have go out there and give it our best.”
This year, the Crimson will be arriving at the Saucon Valley Country Club as the winner of the Ivy League Championship for three years in a row. Having beat four nationally ranked teams at the Silverado Showdown in California earlier this month, the Crimson is in a promising position for this weekend.
Having similarly struggled with the lack of outdoor practice time in the winter, the Crimson cites its tournament experience as an advantage.
“It was difficult getting outside and getting as many reps that we wanted to,” captain Tiffany Lim said. “The tournaments have been really useful, especially the competition setting in places with really nice weather. We did well at those tournaments, which was a plus. It’s giving us a lot of confidence heading into Ivies.”
Despite being ranked three positions higher than Columbia in the Division rankings, Harvard is seeded third behind Yale and Columbia.
“We don’t necessarily focus on rankings or star players or things like that,” said Lim. “We do trust that everybody out there is doing their best individually.”
The team effort has been enhanced by the performance of sophomore Anne Cheng. The only player from the Crimson seeded in the top five, Cheng’s fifth place finish at the Silverado Showdown lifted the team to a top five result. Harvard was only two strokes behind Silverado Showdown third place winner, Colorado, and only four strokes behind first-place University of Oregon.
“When we’re out on the course we know we need to rely on each other,” Lim said. “Everybody on the team could win at any time and everybody can be star. ”
The depth and versatility of the team is also cited as a strong suit of the men’s team.“From one to five, any one of us could be the player this week,” Ramnath said. “That’s what really sets us apart from the other teams [in the Ivy League].”
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