Panthers top women’s golf by 8

Women’s golf ended the weekend with a second-place finish at its home invitational, hosting eight schools at Taconic Golf Club for a two-day event. Middlebury finished first with a team-total of 671, followed by Williams with a 679 and Amherst with a 689. The second-place finish eliminates the Ephs’ hopes for an automatic bid for the NCAA championships. They will receive word about the possibility of an at-large bid on May 5. Amherst first-year, Hayley Milbourn, captured the individual title with a two-day score of 154.

“It was certainly a let-down that we were unable to capitalize on the home course advantage,” Anne O’Leary ’10 said, “but the Panthers put up some great numbers over the weekend.”

The women entered Day 2 seven strokes behind Middlebury, but were unable to close the gap. Last weekend marked the third consecutive weekend in which the Ephs were paired with Middlebury in the final round.

“We are continually pushing one another throughout the round,” said Laura Koplik ’09.

Taconic was a challenge for all competitors. “The course has been in great condition so the greens are running well and can be hard to hold,” Kait O’Brien ’10 said.

All the members of the team competed this weekend. The squad of five included O’Leary, Koplik, Melissa Barton ’09, Kristin Nottebohm ’10 and O’Brien. The three first-years, Dale Markey ’11, Lauren Anstey ’11 and Aimee Weber ’11, entered the tournament as individuals.

Williams was led by O’Leary who tied for third place individually in a field of 47 players, firing a 163. Koplik followed O’Leary’s 163 with a 166 and finished sixth. Other big performances came from Barton and Markey, finishing the two-days in 11th and 12th places with 169 and 171, respectively.

Despite the disappointing end to regular season play, the Ephs were very successful in their spring campaign. The team captured two titles, the Vassar Invitational and the Massachusetts State Championships, and matched this weekend’s second-place finish with another at the Jack Leaman Invitational hosted by Amherst.

On Monday the women will receive word of a possible berth to the 2008 NCAA championships. According to Head Coach Fran Vandermeer, the chances are looking great. If the team were to receive a bid, the Ephs would travel to Waverly, Iowa for two practice rounds and four days of competition, played from May 13-16. “We are crossing our fingers,” said Markey.