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BRIEF: Women's Golf Takes Home Victory In Harvard Invitational

By Joseph W. Minatel, Crimson Staff Writer

In its last true test before the Ivy League championships, Harvard women’s golf completed a roaring comeback to take home the trophy at the Harvard Invitational for its first win in the competition since October 2013. Although played over 1,000 miles away at The Oaks Club near the Gulf of Mexico, the hosts felt right at home for the Harvard Invitational.

For the second straight tournament, gradual improvement over the course of the contest characterized the weekend. In this case, Harvard’s upward trend into Sunday would pay off in the form of a valiant come-from-behind victory.

The Crimson finished the first round of the tournament at 310 strokes, 22 over par for the day. This put Harvard in fifth place heading into the second round, but the Crimson was not deterred.

Harvard exploded in the second round, jumping five spots to tie Princeton for first place at a round-best 300 strokes. After topping the field on Saturday, the Crimson took care of business recording 292 strokes, its best round of the weekend.

Its impressive Sunday placed Harvard alone atop the leaderboard, three strokes ahead of Delaware, whose tournament-best score of 290 strokes in the final round came up just short for the Blue Hens.

Leading the Crimson charge on the final day was junior Michelle Xie, who recorded the only sub-70 score of the weekend in the final round. Shooting three under par, Xie’s 69 strokes topped Harvard and the whole field for the entire tournament.

With Xie went the Crimson, as the junior improved throughout the weekend. On every hole except for hole 14, Xie turned every bogeyed hole into either a par or birdie. This included turning her second round bogey of pesky hole 15, the hardest hole in the tournament for the field, into a par in her impressive final round. Her opening round 78 was followed with a one stroke improvement on Saturday at five over par, but Xie then exploded on the final day to sprint up the leaderboard and finish tied for seventh at eight over par for the tournament.

Senior captain Lita Guo also rode an upward trend on the weekend. Akin to Xie and the rest of Harvard, Guo’s scores improved as the tournament progressed. The Crimson captained finished the first round with an uncharacteristic 80 strokes at eight over par, but quickly settled in to produce stellar rounds on Saturday and Sunday by recording scores at two over par and three over par, respectively.

Xie and Guo were among multiple bright spots in a victorious weekend for Harvard. Freshman Belinda Hu continued her impressive 2017-2018 campaign tied for fifth place for the tournament. Hu led the Crimson over the course of the weekend at seven over par.

Hu’s best round was on Friday, when she shot even par for the course. This opening day performance was highlighted by an impressive six birdies, a feat that no other golfer was able to match on the weekend.

Harvard’s first tournament victory of the season could not have come at a more opportune time, as the Harvard Invitational was the final contest before the all-important Ivy League Championships. Following a well-earned week off, the Crimson will compete for the conference crown.

Last season, Harvard came up short as the Tigers ran away with the conference championship. The Princeton victory ended a five-year reign atop the Ivy League for the Crimson, who will look to reclaim the Ancient Eight’s throne. By finishing first among five of the seven Ivy League squads participating at the Invitational, Harvard will hope to replicate this week’s triumphant results with the conference crown on the line.

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Sports BriefsWomen's Golf