Sometimes, a strong start and finish just won't quite do it.
Penn women's golf learned this when it finished fifth out of eight teams in the Harvard Invitational this past Saturday.
The competition was especially important to the team because the Quakers were competing against five of the other seven Ivy League schools. With the Ivy League Championships less than three weeks away, the Harvard Invitational was a chance to see how the team measures up to the rest of the Ivy League and what it must improve upon in the coming weeks.
Though the final standings place Penn in fifth out of the eight teams, there were a few major positives to take away from the day.
“I was very happy with how they played,” coach Mark Anderson said following the Invitational. “They had a great first round and a great final round in which they beat all the Ivy League teams.”
Penn shot a 301 in the first round, only trailing Princeton’s 299 and Boston University’s 300. Senior captain Isabella Rahm and junior Tiffany Yau shot the best first rounds for Penn at 74, only two over par. Only two players in the field were able to beat their score. Allison Wong also had a great first round, finishing three strokes over par at 75.
The second round was not as kind to Penn’s golfers. Tiffany Yau and Erin Lo both finished at six over par, and their 78s were the best scores for any Penn golfers during the round.
“Consistency is the biggest issue to address going forward,” Anderson noted. “We have to tighten up holes where we shot bogeys or double bogeys.”
Penn’s up and down play during the three rounds backs up Anderson’s analysis. Putting together only the first and third rounds, Penn would have finished in second place, trailing only Boston University by three strokes. However, Penn had the worst second round of the eight teams in the field. In fact, it was the third worst round by any team in the tournament, only beating Dartmouth’s first round score of 321 and Brown’s final round score of 326. If Penn had played to its potential for all three rounds, the Quakers could've competed with any team in the invitational.
Ahead on the schedule is a trip to Georgetown for the team’s final tuneup before the Ivy League Championships. The team has been traveling all over for their last few competitions, playing in both familiar and unfamiliar places — including a trip to Florida over Spring Break, which happens to be the hosting state of the Ivy Championships.
With just over two weeks to prepare for the big competition. Penn women's golf is nearing the end of its season. Could the Quakers reach their goal of finishing atop the Ancient Eight?
“I really like our chances with the momentum that we have going from this tournament,” Anderson said, optimistically. “Having players step up from the fourth and fifth position, as they have been, is vital for us.”