Pictured: Jane Lee
By Coach Kevin Rhoads
This past weekend saw Harvard play an 18-hole match with Rollins College in Port St. Lucie, FL. Rollins is a perennial Division II powerhouse, having won multiple DII National Championships.
The teams played their match on the Tom Fazio-designed Wannamaker Course at PGA Golf Club. The course has large, undulating greens with enough grain to make things difficult on northern golfers, an interesting layout, and plenty of water hazards and bunkers.
Part of being in Florida for this competition centered around trying to get more practice repetitions, given that the team has not yet been able to play outdoors in Boston. Instead of following the traditional pre-tournament formula of playing a practice round on the Wannamaker Course either Friday or Saturday before their match, Coach Rhoads opted for just heavy practice repetitions. The thinking was that the team is very short on full-swing and short-game repetitions required to lay the foundation for later spring success, so he prioritized extra practice and ingraining of proper technique over the benefits of knowing the Wannamaker Course well enough to score to their potential. This strategy probably contributed to the outcome of the match, but Coach Rhoads wouldn't change the team's course of action if they had it to do over again.
In the match, Joanna Coe from Rollins College was the individual standout. She shot a 2-under 70 to be the low scorer by 5 shots, giving Rollins a distinct advantage in the scoring. Harvard's Jane Lee ('12, Alamo, CA) came in second and was the low Harvard scorer, posting a solid 75. She putted the best of any of the Harvard players, most of whom struggled reading the slope and especially the grain of the Bermuda greens that as northern players they seldom face. Christine Cho ('12, La Crescenta, CA), and freshman Julie MacDonell ('14, Sayville, NY) playing as an individual, tied for 3rd with 77's. Rollins players Cecilia Kleinert and Fabia Rothenfluh tied for 5th at 78. Though she played pretty well, Bonnie Hu ('14, Freemont, CA) had an uncharacteristic scoring day, struggling with reading the greens while shooting 79 and tying for 7th with two ! Rollins players. Chloe Altchek ('13, Rye, NY) had a solid front nine before fading slightly on the back to an 82. Captain Mia Kabasakalis ('11, Alameda, CA) whose putting is usually among the strongest on the team, also struggled on the greens, shooting 83. Fritzi Reuter, ('14, Leonberg, Germany) shot 88 as she finishes working through some swing changes.
The final tally for the top 4 out of 5 scorers who were not playing as individuals left Harvard at 313 while Rollins shot 305. The overall score, and the margin of victory for Rollins continue to leave this year's Harvard team in somewhat unfamiliar territory; over the last 5 years Harvard has been used to winning the majority of the competitions in which they play. This year has proven to be more of a struggle. However, though disappointed with the result this weekend, each member of the Crimson definitely made progress with the level of their game through a great deal of focused practice before and after the match. This progress is the only important outcome at this beginning stage of the short spring season.