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Women's Golf Narrowly Bests Abilene Christian and Dartmouth

The Harvard women's golf team bounced back to win first place at its tournament last weekend.
The Harvard women's golf team bounced back to win first place at its tournament last weekend. By Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications
By Jack Anderson and Hugo Nunez, Contributing Writers

The Harvard women's golf team headed down to Bay Point Golf Club in Panama City Beach Florida this weekend for the Lady Bison Bay Point Classic hosted by Lipscomb University where it narrowly beat Abilene Christian (894) and Dartmouth College (907) with a total team score of 892 to take home first place, securing the team’s second tournament win in its 6 tournaments this year. The result provided some much-needed momentum for the team as it headed into the Dolores Black Falcon Invitational, its final tournament before the Ivy League Championship. This momentum comes after a challenging 10th place finish at the Tulane Classic over spring break

The team traveled with golfers senior Isabella Gomez, sophomore Charissa Shang, freshman Lauren Wong, sophomore Bridget Ma, and senior captain Meiyi Yan. Sophomore Iris Wang played in the tournament as an individual.

In the first round, Ma led the team with a 74 (+2), landing her a spot as top-four individual. Yan (76), Gomez (77), Shang (78) and Wong (84) rounded out the team score to 305, earning Harvard a fourth place finish. Wang finished the first round with a score of 80, landing her as a top-40 individual.

The Crimson had a strong second round that propelled it to second place with a total score of 598. Shooting four birdies, Gomez led the pack with a 70 on the day, bringing her to third place individually. Ma stayed consistent, finishing the second day with a 75 and remaining tied for fourth. The rest of the team also improved on its previous scores, with Yan and Shang shooting 74, and Wong shooting an 80. The overall improvement in performance propelled Harvard to second place with a score of 598, just behind Abilene Christian, which carried a team score of 596.

As an individual, Wang had a strong second day, shooting a 70, improving her score by 10 strokes from the previous round, which shot her into sixth place. A pivotal moment on the day for Wang was her performance on the sixth hole, which was a long 461 yard par five. Playing downwind, Wang describes hitting a strong drive down the fairway, leaving her about 160 yards from the pin. With precision, Wang “hit an 8 iron right of the pin and sunk a 20 foot putt” to secure her eagle, one of only three by all golfers during the tournament.

In a game with such a large mental factor, the second round was exactly what Harvard needed after its 10th place finish in Tulane in the beginning of the spring season.

Starting the final round with back-to-back birdies, Ma was dialed in from the first tee. Following up her back-to back-birdies, she six-straight pars before once again scoring back-to-back birdies to finish out her first 10 holes. Looking to improve her standings even further, Ma went for an aggressive approach on the 12th hole that brought her out of bounds, resulting in an unusual double bogey. Saving double with a long 15-foot putt, Ma describes the save as “something she could work with.”

Ma calmly bounced back with a par on the next hole, and then once again, back-to back-birdies. She finished off her round with three more pars and another birdie, netting her an overall five under par 67. Ma finished the weekend with 10 birdies, more than any other golfer in the tournament. She describes the round as a “huge confidence booster” after all of the work she has put in, as well as a great learning opportunity on “how to stay more level headed throughout the round.” Her level headedness in her strong final round gave her the lowest score by any golfer on the weekend and brought her to second place overall.

Wong also had her best round of the weekend on the final day, finishing with a 76. In theme with her consistent weekend, Gomez had a consistent final round, with two bogeys and a birdie, netting her a 73 and keeping her in third place overall. Yan and Shang shot a 79 and 78 respectively to round out the team score. With a total team score of 892, Harvard’s momentum-driven third day resulted in a first place finish, narrowly beating out Abilene Christian’s 894.

The team will hope to continue its momentum into its next tournament on April 6.
The team will hope to continue its momentum into its next tournament on April 6. By Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

Wang followed up her strong second round with a solid 74 in the third round, securing her a top-nine finish as an individual.

With its first win after winter break, the Crimson appears to have broken off any winter rust that may have been a factor at the Tulane tournament. Wang describes the team’s energy after the win as "very excited … especially because this is only our second tournament of the spring season."

The team is looking forward to traveling to Stone Ridge Golf Club in Bowling Green, Ohio on April 6 to compete in the Dolores Black Falcon Invitational hosted by Bowling Green State University. The Crimson hopes to keep momentum through this tournament as it is the last tournament before the Ivy League Championship, which takes place at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Connecticut starting on April 21.

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