Bulldogs Round Out 2011 Season at the NCAA Regional

Bulldogs Round Out 2011 Season at the NCAA Regional

2010-2011 was a year to remember for the Yale women's golf team, and one that came to a close Saturday with the completion of play at the NCAA's East Regional at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Bulldogs finished 21st overall (the top eight teams moved on), and freshman Seo Hee Moon finished her stellar debut season in style, finishing tied for 20th at +4 for the weekend.

"Sun Park played spectacular. said Coach Chawwadee Rompothong '00. "She and Seo Hee played really well and I am proud of them. As freshmen, they were able to handle the pressure really well and were able to have fun and enjoy the moment."

No one handled the pressure better than Moon, who turned in three solid rounds, going 74 and 74 on the first two days of the tournament, and saving the best for last with a 72 Saturday. Classmate Sun Gyoung Park also had a strong Saturday after an opening-round 72, finishing her first collegiate season with a 72. Park's three-day total of 226 tied her for 49th overall.

Captain Alyssa Roland and classmate Harriet Owers-Bradley played the final rounds of their collegiate career Saturday, and after a spectacular second-day 72 yesterday, Roland finished up at 237 for the weekend, good for 100th overall. Owers-Bradley's three-day 258 placed her in 123rd. Sophomore Joy Kim fired her best round of the regional Saturday, carding an 81 to finish in 118th overall. 

Saturday marked the close of a season that saw the Bulldogs take the Ivy League Championship while winning the C&F Bank Invitational and taking second in the Hoya Invitational this spring. Yale also earned a one-day win over Longwood in a two-team showdown, and finished fourth overall in the Brown Bear Invitational before taking the Ancient Eight title. 

Perhaps the most encouraging part of Yale's season - which is saying something giving a conference title and berth in the national tournament - was the emergence of two stellar freshmen who will terrorize Ivy League competition for the next three years. Moon, who led the way this weekend in Daytona, was the Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year, winning an unbelievable six of ten tournaments between the fall and spring, and finishing in the top five in all but one. Park, who battled injury in the fall and played in just seven tournaments between the fall and spring, finished in the top five in four of them. 

But Sun and Moon were just two parts of a team led by a senior class who will be very difficult to replace. Alyssa Roland posted four top-ten finishes between the fall and spring, including a third-place individual finish in the Brown Bear Invitational to round out her regular-season career. The captain was last year's Ivy League Invidual Champion. Owers-Bradley also established herself as a force for the Bulldogs throughout her career, finishing in the individual top ten three times in five tournaments this spring, including a seventh-place finish at the Ivy League Championships. Classmate Cassie Boles will also be missed; the senior posted a sixth-place finish at the Sacred Heart Invitational, the Bulldogs final tournament of the fall. Boles was an All-Ivy selection in her sophomore season after taking fourth overall at the Ivy League Championships that season.

In the end, though, the Bulldogs ran into some tough competition at an NCAA Regional who will send the likes of Alabama, North Carolina, and Arizona State to Texas for the National Tournament. But with Sun, Moon, and a strong corps of returners like next year's captain Lily Boettcher, sophomore Alex Lipa (who battled injury throughout the spring but has proven herself as a contributor throughout her two years), and Kim, whose hole-in-one at the C&F Bank Invitational was one of the highlights of Yale's season, the Bulldogs seem poised to get themselves another chance next season. Certainly, experience gained from this year's regional, as well as lessons learned from Boles, Owers-Bradley and Roland, will be integral parts of Yale's quest to repeat as Ivy League Champions next season.  

"We knew that in order to place top 8, we would all have to play our best golf of the season," Captain Alyssa Roland said of the weekend. "This tournament is really just the icing on top an incredible season, so we all came out here looking to have fun, enjoy each other's company, and appreciate the opportunity to play in such a prestigious event.  We now know that we have the talent to compete against some of the top teams in the nation and this has been such an incredible experience, especially for the seniors who worked hard for 4 years to earn this bid to regionals."

Report filed by Chelsea Janes '12, Yale Sports Publicity