April 26, 2009
NORTHFIELD, N.J. - The Bulldogs came up two strokes short in their efforts to win a seventh Ivy League Championship. The Bulldogs came into the day eight shots back of Harvard and overtook them for the lead mid-day, but the Crimson fought back to claim their second title in as many years. The Bulldogs shot the second lowest team round of the tournament (297), but it wasn't enough to overcome the gap they had left themselves on Friday and Saturday. Yale (906) finished three shots ahead of Princeton (909) and two behind Harvard (904).
"We made a really good run at it," said senior captain Natasha Spackey. "297 was the low round of the day and one of the low rounds of the tournament. It was a large amount of strokes to try and get back in one day, but it was definitely doable. We gave it all we had."
If the Bulldogs can point to one thing in particular that lost them the tournament it was their Saturday round. Yale came into Saturday just two strokes down to Harvard and in a good position to claim first, but Harvard held on and the Bulldogs dropped six more shots to Crimson. The Bulldogs got back those six shots on Sunday, but could not get back to the two they gave up earlier in the tournament.
"I couldn't have asked for a better Ivy League finish from the team," said Spackey. "Everyone played their heart out and it was a really great final-day finish. Overall it was good tournament. We only scored in the 70s which was great."
Sophomore Harriet Owers-Bradley had a spectacular tournament for the Bulldogs and finished in second overall. She shot rounds of 78 (+6), 76 (+4) and 70 (-2) to lead her to a 224 (+8) finish. Susannah Aboff of Princeton won her second straight individual title with a three-over par score of 219. Owers-Bradley's round of 70 was the lowest round shot by any player this weekend at the championship and it could have been a lot lower. She came out with a birdie on the par-five first, only to give it right back with a bogey on the second. She would birdie three to get back to minus one, but with a double bogey on six and a bogey on eight, she took herself right back to two-over par. Owers-Bradley picked up her third birdie on the par-five ninth, getting her back to one-over heading into the turn. Knowing that she had to make something happen, she rattled off five birdies on the back nine including birdies on 17 and 18 to finish at two-under. If not for a double bogey on 15, she would have finished with a four-under par round of 68.
"Harriet's eight birdies were amazing," said Spackey. "Everyone played really solid today."
Closely behind Owers-Bradley on the leaderboard was sophomore Cassie Boles, who improved her position on Sunday closing with a one-over round of 73 to put her in a tie for fourth. She was joined in that tie by Emily Balmert and Christine Cho of Harvard, as well as Marlowe Boukis of Princeton. Her final score of 226 (+10) was just two shots behind Owers-Bradley and seven off the lead. Unlike Owers-Bradley's barrage of birdies, Boles had a much quieter round carding three birdies and four bogeys for her one-over par.
Sophomore Alyssa Roland finished five shots behind Boles in solo ninth place. Roland finished out the tournament with a round of 78 (+6) and a total score of 231 (+15). Roland struggled on the front nine Sunday, posting three bogeys and a double bogey for a five over 42, but picked it up on the back nine carding two birdies and three bogeys for a one-over 36. She finished the tournament with rounds of 79 (+7), 74 (+2) and 78 (+6).
After struggling on Friday, senior captain Natasha Spackey turned it around over the weekend to finish in a tie for 20th. She closed out the tournament with a round of 79 (+7) for a total of 240 (+24). Spackey's round Sunday was relatively solid except for some struggles through the middle of her round. She opened and closed with five straight pars, but in between she had a birdie on the par-five sixth, a double bogey on the par-three eighth, a stretch of six-over golf on holes 10 through 13. That stretch of bogey, double bogey, bogey, double bogey on holes ten through 13 shot Spackey up to seven-over par and after five more pars she finished at seven-over for the day.
Junior Taylor Lee was not able to place due to a disqualification on Saturday, but her Friday and Sunday scores were two of the better scores in the tournament. Lee shot a three-over 75 on Friday and followed it up with a four-over 76 on Sunday. Her Sunday round was a relatively quiet one that featured 15 pars, two bogeys and one double bogey.
The Bulldogs will head into next season with almost the same team from this year, but they will lose the leadership and skill of their graduating captain Spackey.
"An Ivy League win would have been the ideal way to close out the season," said Spackey. "We had the talent we just came up a bit short. But of the three golf tournaments I have won in my career, two of them were this season. We've shot some of the lowest rounds this year and overall the team is pretty happy about the season we've had. The team is no longer looking for a fifth player because everyone is in contention for the top five. Everyone has the right attitude and mentality and it has been an honor to be a part of this team."
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity