Women’s golf notches 1st win at NYU Invite

Women’s golf started its fall season last weekend with a win at the New York University Fall Invitational in Suffern, N.Y. Despite having to deal with wet course conditions, the Ephs scored well both as a team and individually. With a team two-day score of 631 (311-320), the women beat out second-place Middlebury (643) by 12 strokes. Rival Amherst came in third place in the event, carding a team total of 661.

The women  played at Spook Rock Golf Course, which was left with rough and soggy fairways after Hurricane Irene and the large amounts of rainfall that have hit the northeast. They therefore played with the lift, clean and place rule in effect. This rule is enacted when the course is wet and muddy, and says that when your ball is on the fairway, you have the opportunity to mark its position, clean any mud off the ball and then replace it within six inches of its original position so that you have a clean lie to hit the ball.

To add to the hardship of poor conditions, some of the players had to finish playing in the dark on Day One due to major back-ups on the course, especially on the final hole. The greens, however, were rolling quite nicely and holding well, enabling the players to pin seek. The inclement conditions proved especially challenging, as ball placement in the tree-lined holes and around the water hazards can prove difficult on this course even in ideal conditions.

Becky Miller ’13 and Georgiana Salant ’14 led the team in individual scores, tying for second place with a total score of 157. Miller shot a 78-79 while Salant came in with a 75-82. Both Ephs were six strokes out of first place, which Middlebury’s Flora Weeks claimed. Victoria Student ’13 also impressed over the weekend, carding a 159 (80-79) to finish in the top 10. Shelby Shote ’15 shot a 78 on the first day and an 86 on the second day to card a 164 in her first collegiate tournament. Emily Wickstrom ’14 rounded out the team with scores of 86 and 80, totaling a 166. “This was a solid start to our season,” Wickstrom said. “We are back in our zone and prepared to improve on our performance for next week.”

The women were excited to start out its season with a first-place finish. It was a definite improvement on the women’s sixth-place finish at their first tournament last year, the Dartmouth Invitational.

Head Coach Erika DeSanty attributed the women’s success partly to the chemistry of the team. “The team dynamic is something really special,” she said. “It was great to see the girls encouraging each other out on the course. It really makes a world of difference.”

Although the Ephs were in the lead after Day One by eight strokes over the Panthers, they were careful not to get complacent. “‘Resilient’ is a word that describes the team very well,” DeSanty said. “We needed to be resilient the second day, and resilience was shown on the second day of competition, especially by Emily Wickstrom and Victoria Student. Both came back strong the second day to help lead the team to victory.”

The women will tee up at the Mount Holyoke Invitational this Saturday and Sunday at the Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass. Wickstrom is the defending champion at the Invitational.