April 24, 2009
NORTHFIELD, N.J. - The Bulldogs came out firing at the Ivy League Championships and, after the first 18 holes, are two shots back of Harvard (306) in second place. It is a tight race at the top with the Tigers of Princeton (310) just two shots behind Yale (308). It spreads out after that, as the next closest competitor is Penn (325) in fourth place, 15 shots behind Princeton.
"We had an early morning tee-off, which definitely helped," said junior Taylor Lee. "We played the first 12 holes with relatively no wind. We also know this course pretty well. Three of us played it last year and Lissa Roland walked it with us, so we know where to go with ball."
Lee took advantage of the easy wind and her course knowledge to lead Yale with a three-over 75, putting her in a tie for third with Emily Balmert of Harvard. Susannah Aboff of Princeton is leading the tournament after shooting a round of even-par (72) and Ali Bode of Harvard is in second with her round of 74 (+2).
Lee started off the day with a birdie on the par-five first, but gave two shots back on the third and fifth with bogeys. She made up for it with her best hole of the day on the par-five ninth. Lee made an eagle three, which got her to one-under.
"The wind was behind us on that hole, and I just decided to go for the green," said Lee. "I hit my second shot to 12 feet from the pin and was able to hole the putt."
Lee would remain at one-under for five holes, but struggled to finish out the round, shooting two bogeys and a double bogey in the last four holes. She is only three shots back of the leader, however, and well within striking distance.
Lee is one of three Bulldogs in the top ten as sophomores Cassie Boles and Harriet Owers-Bradley are both near the top of the leaderboard. Boles is just one shot behind Lee in solo fifth place. She shot a round of 76 (+4) that featured a number of birdies and bogeys. Boles opened the day with a double bogey on the par-five first, but gained two shots back on the third and fourth holes with birdies. She closed out the front nine with two bogeys on seven and eight, and headed into the turn at two-over. Boles birdied ten to get her score back to just one-over, but gave back four strokes over the next six holes. She would birdie the 17th, though, to finish the round with a solid 76.
Owers-Bradley is only two shots behind her teammate in a tie for ninth place. She shot a round of 78 (+6) with six bogeys, one double-bogey and two birdies. Owers-Bradley's worst hole was the par-5 13th where she shot a double-bogey seven but she picked up birdies on eight and 16 to help erase the double-bogey.
Just missing the top ten was sophomore Alyssa Roland, who finished in a tie for 11th after shooting a round of 79 (+7). Roland's round featured mostly pars and a handful of bogeys. She also had a birdie and a double-bogey.
Yale's captain, senior Natasha Spackey, struggled on day one, shooting a 15-over round of 87. Spackey started the day with a birdie, but struggled to make pars the rest of the day. The Bulldogs are not panicking, however.
"We all left shots out there today," said Lee. "Everyone has a bad day. I'm not worried at all about Natasha, and I know she's not panicking either."
The Bulldogs will be paired tomorrow with Harvard and Princeton beginning at 9:20 a.m.
"We can definitely catch Harvard," said Lee. "Both tournaments we have won, we have come from behind. We are feeling good and confident right now."
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity