Women's Golf Shows Continued Improvement as Aylor Shines in 2003-04

The Quakers finished sixth or better in five events and Melissa Aylor earned a trio of top-three finishes.

May 11, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn women's golf team showed steady progress throughout the 2003-04 season, finishing sixth or better in five of its seven events over the fall and spring seasons. The Red and Blue finished outside the top-10 in only one tournament where there were 13 or more participating schools.

The leadership and excellent play of an upperclassman, as it did last season, paced the team. Melissa Aylor recorded a career-best three finishes in the top-three individually and led the team with an 80.3 per round average. The junior opened the season in the fall with a top-10 finish, tying for sixth with a 157 (76-81) at the Princeton Women's Invitational (Sept. 27-28) held at Springdale Golf Club. Penn finished seventh as a team.

Aylor opened the spring season with her first third-place finish as she shot a pair of 79's at the Hoya Women's Invitational in Reston, Va. The Tampa, Fla. native made it two in a row as she tied for third at the William & Mary Invitational held at Ford's Colony Country Club on Mar. 27-28. Aylor shot a 78 to open the tournament but then came back with a two-over 74 to close out the event.

The Quakers were on a bit of a streak as well, having not finished outside the top-seven in any event leading up to the William & Mary Invitational. The Red and Blue finished sixth at the Yale Women's Fall Invitational on the strength of Aylor and a top-25 finish from sophomore Jenna Skorupa, who fired an opening round 78 and finished tied for 23rd.

"Melissa played very well in the spring, she was our cornerstone. When she played well we performed well as a team. She established herself as one of the top players in the district," praised Francis Vaughn, Director of Penn Golf.

Penn finished tied for fourth to at the Harvard Women's Invitational to close out the fall season. Four Quakers finished in the top-25 at the event as Skorupa, who recorded a season-best top-10 finish led the Red and Blue. The Carbondale, Pa. native shot a 170 (87-83) over the two days to tie for the 10th position and the Scranton Prep grad ended the year with an 88.8 per round average.

Kim Thompson enjoyed her second-best finish of the season by tying for 12th, just one shot back of Skorupa. Aylor and Lauren Eveland joined their younger teammates in the top-25, finishing tied for 17th and alone in 21st, respectively.

Penn opened the spring 2004 season at the Hoya Women's Invitational and on the strength of Aylor's third-place finish, finishing in the top-six for the third-straight event.

The Quakers had a span of three weeks off between the William & Mary Invitational and the Ivy League Championships (Apr. 17-18), which were held at the Trenton Country Club for the second-consecutive year. The Red and Blue came in poised to make a move up the Ancient Eight ladder and was able to sow the seeds for success in next year's championships, finishing fifth for the second-straight season. Three of Penn's top four finishers were sophomores and the low score earned by the Quakers belonged to a junior - Melissa Aylor. Aylor was in second place after two rounds of competition in Trenton but a surging Avery Kiser from Princeton could not be denied her third-straight Ivy individual title as Aylor finished tied for eighth just out of All-Ivy contention. Thompson showed well, firing an opening round 81 and finishing tied for 18th and was the only other Quaker to earn a top-20 finish.

The Quakers ended the season as a host to three other area schools at the Penn Invitational held at the Golf Club at Felicita (Apr. 24-25) in Harrisburg, Pa. Aylor finished the year with her best effort, tying for second with a two-day total of 161 (76-85). Thompson, who finished the season with an 84.8 per round average, earned her first top-10 finish of the season, as she tied for fourth at 162 on two rounds of 81.

The future proves to be bright as lone freshman. Stephanie Stamas earned the first top-10 finish of her career, placing 10th with a 176 (92-84). Stamas made her collegiate debut with the Quakers in the first event of the fall, the Princeton Women's Invitational and missed only one event during her rookie campaign.

Lexie Wukich also showed her potential for the upcoming fall season as she ended the year tied for 11th at the Penn Invitational with a two-day total of 177 (87-90) and finished her sophomore season with an 87.8 per round average.

A pair of seniors played their final rounds of golf in the Red and Blue. Valerie Wong and Laura Dolan each finished in the top-20 at the Penn Invitational with Wong placing 14th and Dolan tying for 18th.

"I think we gained valuable experience heading into next season. We finished on a good note, finishing second at the Penn Invitational. We're looking forward to next season as we welcome in a new class and continue to build towards our goal of Ivy League prominence," said Vaughn.

The Quakers will look to a pair of seniors and a solid core of juniors in 2004-05. Aylor and Lauren Eveland will shoulder the load as leaders of the Quakers next year. Joined by soon-to-be juniors Wukich, Skorupa, Thompson and underclassman Stephanie Stamas, the Red and Blue look poised to make the vertical leap up the Ancient Eight and challenge for a title along with the League's elite.

Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications