Ivy League Championships information
PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women’s golf team got a good gauge of where they stand in the Ivy League following last weekend’s ROAR-EE Invitational -- and it is a gap they have pared quite a bit from a year ago.
While Princeton won the event, and Harvard was second with distance, the Quakers found themselves just two shots behind both Yale and host Columbia when the tournament was over.
Last weekend, however, was mere prelude to this weekend, where the pressure gets ratcheted up a notch or two at the Ivy League Championships. The 54-hole event -- only the second time Penn has played such an event this year -- will be held with single rounds Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Atlantic City Country Club in Northfield, N.J.
Penn has finished fifth at Ivies each of the last two years exactly where they finished among Ivy teams last weekend in Suffern, N.Y. However, with three seasoned veterans in the lineup, and an intrepid freshman added, there is no reason to think the Quakers can’t move up the ladder.
"If the women play to their potential, I think we have a chance," said first-year head coach Mark Anderson. "They finished fifth last year, and we are stronger with more experience, so I am expecting a much better finish.
"It was important for us to play in the last group with Princeton and Harvard during the last round last weekend," he continued. "We were only four shots behind Harvard after the first round. The women realized that if they believe in themselves and play to their potential, they have a chance to finish at the top this weekend."
Last year, junior Lisette Vitter just missed All-Ivy honors, tying for eighth at the Championships; this year, she has a 79.8 stroke average. Classmate Meredith Kotowski, meanwhile, tied for 12th last year, and after taking the fall off to study abroad she has an 82.1 average for seven rounds in the spring. Add Catherine Elliott, another two-year scorer with an 82.5 stroke average this year -- more than a stroke better than last year -- and you have a solid nucleus.
Add to the mix freshman Tiffany Cheung, who has only been Penn’s low scorer in four tournaments this year, including last weekend’s ROAR-EE Invitational, and second in two others. She placed second overall last weekend in Suffern, tying another Ivy player (Princeton’s Michelle Grilli). One of just three players to have played all 14 of Penn’s tournament rounds this year -- Vitter and Elliott are the others -- Cheung’s 79.6 stroke average is the team’s best, just ahead of Vitter.
"It is very important, during a 54-hole event, to stay focused and in the present," said Anderson. "The women need to play one shot at a time and not worry about what happened on the last hole or think too far ahead. We have talked about not letting bad holes affect your confidence and mental state. Over 54 holes, you are going to hit bad shots and you are going to have a bad hole or two. If the women can handle those situations and stay confident, they will do well over the course of the weekend."