April 25, 2010

Roland Wins Ivy League Championship

Bulldogs Take Second

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. – Junior Lissa Roland saved the best for last.  She fired a round of 73 (+1) on Sunday to climb her way up the leaderboard and claim the Ivy League Championship.  The Bulldogs did their best to make a team charge, but they had dug too big a hole with their score of 328 in the first round.  Yale did surpass a number of teams over the final two days, including rival Harvard, to claim second place.  Penn went on to win the tournament and their first ever Ivy League Championship by a staggering 22 strokes.

Apr. 25, 2010 was already going to be a special day for Roland, as she was celebrating her 21st birthday.  Little did she know just how special it was going to be. 

However, Roland's day did not get off to a great start, when she double bogeyed the par 3 third.  She gained a stroke back two holes later, when she birdied at the par 4 fifth.  Roland made the turn at one over par and quickly birdied the 10th to get back to even.  With scores being reported every four holes, by the time she reached the 13th tee, Roland knew she had surpassed everyone and was ahead by three strokes.

“I was keeping track of where I stood the whole time,” said Roland.  “After the 12th hole, I had a three shot lead, and I knew I was going to go all the way.  I kept my mental game together and did not get nervous.  I wanted to make sure I had a strong finish.”

Roland kept it together for seven straight holes with seven straight pars.  Heading into 18, she had a two shot lead over Isabel Han of Penn.  Roland only needed bogey to win and that is exactly what she made to defeat Han by just one stroke.

“It is an amazing feeling,” said Roland.  “I was swinging it really well all day.  I hit all the fairways and almost every green.  This is just the best birthday present ever.”

While Roland charged up the leaderboard, the rest of the Bulldogs were doing everything they could to help her erase the team's 20 shot deficit.

“Today was tough,” said sophomore Callie Kemmer.  “The rain made the course a lot longer, but we continued to improve and get more comfortable each day.  After the first round, we all worked on our games to try and figure out what went wrong.  We focused a lot on putting, because every team in the tournament was struggling with the greens.  It is hard to catch up when you are that far back, but we gained a lot of ground on a lot of schools which we were happy about.”

Kemmer had another great day for the Bulldogs, shooting a round of 75 (+3).  She finished in a tie for fourth with Katie Sylvan of Harvard.  Both girls finished the tournament at 15 over par.  Kemmer had back-to-back bogeys on the front nine and made the turn at two over.  She bogeyed the par 3 10th, but quickly made birdies at 11 and 12 to get back to one over par on the day.  She remained at one over until she bogeyed 17 for the third time this weekend and then bogeyed 18.

“I've struggled with 17 and 18 all weekend,” said Kemmer.  “18 is one of the tougher holes on the course, but I just have not had success on either.”

Junior Cassie Boles continued to improve on Sunday, dropping her score for the second day in a row and getting under 80 for the first time this tournament.  Boles shot a 79 (+6) to finish in a tie for 17th.  The difference for Boles was keeping double bogeys off her card.  Boles had five bogeys and birdie on the front nine to make the turn at four over.  She quickly birdied to the 10th to get to three over, but would bogey four more times before the end of the round.

After a big turnaround on Saturday, junior Harriet Owers-Bradley regressed a bit on Sunday.  She fired an 83 (+11), but still finished in a tie for 17th.  Owers-Bradley's struggles stemmed from a lack of birdies and a double bogey.  She had four bogeys on the front nine and five on the back, including the double bogey at 14.

Freshman Alexandra Lipa had her best round of the tournament, but was still unable to break 80.  She did, however, make quite the turnaround from front nine to back nine.  Her front nine featured five bogeys bookended by double bogeys at the first and ninth.  On the back nine, however, she made eight pars and a lone bogey at the par 3 15th.

“I'm really proud of my teammates this week,” said Roland.  “We played really well the last two days and we were able to beat six of the seven teams we played, including Harvard.  This was a very difficult course and I was happy with how we adjusted and responded to it.  We are returning all five players from this weekend and adding two very talented freshmen next year.  I'm very excited about next season.”

Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity