The Boston University women’s golf team had a sweet and sour start to the season this weekend at the Dartmouth Invitational as it placed 17th overall out of 22 teams at Hanover (N.H.) Country Club.
The tournament, which kicked off the team’s six-week fall season, consisted of five players per team in a stroke play setting.
On Saturday, the team came out strong and shot a 340, putting them in 12th place and just three shots back of 10th after the first round.
“We played real well on Saturday,” said BU coach Bruce Chalas. “We were sitting in 12th place and only three strokes out of the top 10. . .Our short game, which we have been working real hard on in practice, was phenomenal on Saturday.”
Co-captain Ana Johnson led the team with a first-round 81. Sophomore Jill Eelman (85) and junior Courtney Dampolo (86) also shot well for the squad.
“As a team, we played well,” Chalas said. “We just went out and played golf on Saturday. We were confident and team spirits were very high.”
But Sunday proved to be a different story as the team had a tough day on the course, shooting a 352 &- 12 shots worse than the previous day. Conditions at Hanover were much tougher in the final round, causing the Terriers to struggle with hitting greens in regulation.
“Sunday, we played poor across the board,” Chalas said. “We were lethargic, hesitant and uncomfortable all day. We seemed to be self-doubting ourselves.”
One positive was the play of freshman Christine Silen. Competing in her first collegiate tournament, Silen shot the lowest in the final round with an impressive 85. Johnson finished at the top for the team and a tie for 57th overall (81-88 &-169), followed by Dampolo (74th), Silen (t-84th), Eelman (t-84th) and senior Dana DeStefano (98th).
Kaitlin Garske, who was lined up in the individual division, shot an 87 and 90 to put her in a tie for 87th overall.
The Terriers shot 692 as a team to come to a 17th-place finish. Host Dartmouth finished third overall, 11 strokes behind tournament champion Boston College.
Overall, Chalas was proud of his team’s play but sees much room for improvement.
“We drove the ball real well on Saturday and we were confident,” Chalas said. “Sunday was a different story. Our goal is to finish in the top 10 every week. We have to shoot low numbers two days in a row, but we just did not get the job done.”
Practice and rest will be keys this week as the fall season consists of many back-to-back weekends where the players will be competing in tournaments. Though many may see a demanding schedule as potentially harmful, Chalas is excited, and convinced that the trying times will help his team.
“BU provides us with one of the best schedules on the East Coast,” Chalas said. “It’s competitive for five out of the six weekends. Our game plan is to continue to build and carry over momentum in these tournaments. We practice throughout the week to Friday so on the weekend, we will be ready.”
On Sept. 25-26, the team will be put to another test as they will travel to South Hadley to compete in the Mount Holyoke Invitational. The historic Orchards Golf Club, the site of the 2004 Women’s U.S. Open, will host the event. Chalas believes that this course will help his straight-shooting team.
“We have a great tournament this weekend at Orchards,” Chalas said. “The course is short, and the girls absolutely love it. Our straight driving is an advantage we are looking forward to using this weekend.”