Open at JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After a successful fall season, the Yale women's golf team is gearing up for the spring. The Bulldogs return four of five starters and have added two freshmen, one of whom already won a tournament in the fall. The Bulldogs have not won an Ivy League Championship since 2006, but they came close last year, when they lost to Harvard by just two strokes. Yale will have three tournaments to get ready for Ivies.
"We are looking forward to getting back on the course for the spring season," said senior captain Taylor Lee. "It goes by really fast. Everything happens in about a month and half and before you know it we are at the Ivy League Championships."
The Bulldogs are returning six players from last year and four of five from last year's team that competed at the Ivy League Championships. Yale's returning players are Lee, juniors Cassie Boles, Harriet Owers-Bradley and Alyssa Roland, and sophomores Lily Boettcher and Callie Kemmer. Boles and Owers-Bradley were Yale's two lowest scorers on average in 2008-09. Boles averaged a round of 77.23 with a season low of 73, while Owers-Bradley averaged 77.5 with a season low of 70. Kemmer was the only Bulldog to win a tournament last year. She took first at the season opening Nittany Lion Invitational with rounds of 73 (+1), 73 (+1) and 74 (+2). Roland also appeared in all eight tournaments for the Bulldogs with a season average of 78.42 and a low round of 74. Finally, Lee appeared in six tournaments for the Bulldogs and shot a season overage of 78.79. Her lowest round was a 72.
The Bulldogs also added two freshmen to the returning team of six who immediately started making an impact in the fall. Freshmen Joy Kim and Alexandra Lipa both got their first collegiate action at the Towson Invitational. Lipa was the individual champion and led Yale to a first-place finish. Kim competed as an individual and took 26th overall.
The Bulldogs competed in four tournaments during the fall. They opened the season with a win at the Towson Invitational. They shot a team score of 590 and a record-breaking round of 292 on the final day. Yale's previous single-round scoring record had been 296. After the Towson, Yale hosted its own Intercollegiate. What was supposed to be a two-day event got shortened to one day, due to rain. Yale finished Saturday in fourth and was given no opportunity to advance its position on Sunday. From there, Yale went to the Nittany Lion Invitational where, after finishing the first round in second place, the wheels started to fall off. The Bulldogs started having to count scores in the 80s and from there could not recover. They eventually finished in eighth. The final event of the fall was the Lehigh Invitational. The Bulldogs only managed fifth place as a team, but Owers-Bradley claimed the individual championship in a playoff. Owers-Bradley sunk a clutch 15-foot putt on the first playoff hole to clinch the win.
After the Lehigh Invitational, the Bulldogs went into off-season mode and that is where they have been for the last four months.
"We have worked really hard this offseason," said Lee. "We did yoga twice a week, lifted three times a week, and trained at Fore seasons, an indoor facility with bunkers, chipping and putting. We focused a lot on our short games. We also used the Dave Paterson Technology Center to work on our swings."
Yale will compete in only three big tournaments before the Ivy League Championships on April 24. They open this weekend with the James Madison/Eagle Landing Invitational on Mar. 7-9. The event is played at the Eagle Landing course at Oakley Plantation. The 6,282-yard par 72 course weaves through the Florida landscape with its classic hole design. The course is designed to begin each nine relatively easily and then get progressively harder. Yale will be going up against some stiff competition with a number of top-100 teams competing. They will be joined by No. 96 Central Arkansas, No. 31 Chattanooga, No. 65 East Carolina, No. 92 Elon, No. 8 Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgetown, High Point, No. 67 Illinois, Iowa, Jacksonville, No. 81 James Madison, Kansas State, No. 71 Kennesaw State, Longwood, No. 77 Stetson and No. 88 South Florida. The defending champions are Chattanooga.
After the JMU/Eagle landing Invite, Yale heads to the Hoya Invite on Mar. 29-30 and then the ROAR EE Invitational on Apr. 17-18. From there it is on to Ivies where the Bulldogs took second last year and were only two shots behind the winners Harvard.
"Harvard will be good again this year," said Lee. "There are always good. Princeton is usually pretty good; they took third at Ivies last year. And then, Penn has really stepped up its game this year. It will be tough competition, but after seeing what we did last year, I like our chances again this year."
The Bulldogs will tee off at the JMU on Sunday morning.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity