Oct. 12, 2008
DAYTONA, Fla. - After watching the men win the ECAC Championships on Saturday, the women decided it was their turn on Sunday, as they took first place at the LPGA Xavier Invitational. Yale came into Sunday three shots ahead of Florida Atlantic, and held on to win by one. The Bulldogs shot 301 on the final day to finish the tournament with a score of 902. Florida Atlantic shot a solid final round of 299 but came up just short shooting 903 for the tournament. Eastern Michigan finished in third, with a tournament score of 905.
The Bulldogs were coming off of a disappointing loss two weeks ago. They were favored at their home course, but after rain cancelled the first round, the tournament was reduced to 18 holes and the Bulldogs finished in sixth.
"We definitely wanted to play better this weekend," said sophomore Cassie Boles. "We wanted to come back and show Coach Rompothong that we were better than that, especially since she was sacrificing attending her best friend's wedding to be here."
It took a full team effort this weekend with none of the Bulldogs coming in the top five. Yale's top two finishers were senior captain Natasha Spackey and sophomore Alyssa Roland. Spackey and Roland tied for eighth place along with golfers from Florida Atlantic and Stetson. Roland shot steady rounds of 76 (+4), 75 (+3) and 74 (+2), taking a stroke off her score each day. She finished with a tournament score of 225 (+9).
"It was a little scary knowing that we were in first," said Roland. "The other teams played really well on the front nine, so we just tried to stay in the game and stay focused."
Spackey was just as steady, shooting two rounds of 74 (+2) and a round of 77 (+5). She finished with a tournament score of 225 (+9).
"I played steady the first two rounds," said Spackey. "I was in a bit of trouble during today's round, and I was playing with two girls who were even or under-par the whole round. I just tried to stay even keeled, not knowing what the other groups were shooting."
Freshman Callie Kemmer led the Bulldogs for the second day in a row, shooting a round of 74. She finished in a tie for 20th, with a tournament score of 228 (+12).
"It was nice to come back and be able to contribute the last two rounds, after having a bad first day," said Kemmer.
Boles continued the Yale trend of steady shooting with rounds of 77 (+5), 74 (+2) and 76 (+4). The native of Lakeland, Fla., finished tied for 16th with a tournament score of 227 (+11).
"For me, it was great to get a win in front of my home state," said Boles. "It's that much more special when your family can came out and watch."
Rounding out Yale's team was sophomore Harriet Owers-Bradley, who shot a final round of 79 (+7), finishing the tournament with a score of 236 (+20).
The individual winner was Therese Nilsson of Lamar. She was the only player in the tournament to shoot under-par. She shot rounds of 72 (E), 72 (E) and 71 (-1). She finished the tournament with a score of 215 (-1). Behind her was Praewnapa Phol-Uayporn from Florida Atlantic. She shot 218 (+2) for the tournament. Rounding out the top three was Stephany Fleet from Eastern Michigan.
Despite the victory, the Bulldogs still feel they have a lot of room for improvement.
"We never really had stellar rounds as a team," said Boles. "But we were able to come in first, with no one in the top five. We know we have major room for improvement."
The Bulldogs will return to action in two weeks at the Ross Resort Invitational in Southern Pines, N.C.
Report filed by Charles Moore '10, Yale Sports Publicity