Women's golf campaign opens at Dartmouth Invite

The Jeffs opened the tournament with a 389 mark on Saturday. Amherst was handicapped by the one-day absence of Kristin Beneski ’08. Teams usually bring five players to a tournament and take the day’s top four scores to make the team score. With only four Jeffs present Saturday, Amherst was at a decided disadvantage to the field.

Junior co-captain Sarah Harper led the short-handed Amherst women with an 81. Ali Berman ’08 was the only other Jeff to break 90, firing an 89, as senior co-captain Melissa Sidman and her classmate Cally Wheeler came in with 99 and 120, respectively. Without a throwaway score, the Jeffs totaled 389.

Day two saw Amherst back at full strength, and the team capitalized by improving its results. Harper played her now-familiar role as the low Jeff with an 85. Berman shaved two strokes form her Saturday tally with an 87. Sidman and Beneski rounded out the scores shooting 99 and 104, respectively. Sunday’s grand total was an improved 374 but couldn’t pull the Jeffs out of last place.

Harper’s two-day total of 166 was good enough for 41st place, individually. Harper was the only Jeff representative in the top 50.

Though they did not finish with a great result, the coaches and players alike were happy with their scores given the difficulty of the Dartmouth layout. “It’s a very hilly course with very quick greens,” said Head Coach Michelle Morgan, “It’s difficult to read and to determine speed.”

Morgan added that the women’s short game shortcomings hurt them as well. “We just haven’t had enough practice time yet,” she said. Nevertheless, she called the tournament “a beneficial way to start the season.”

Berman agreed that it was a constructive weekend, providing the women with the opportunity to not only practice their skills on a challenging course but also to bond as a team. “It was a very positive experience for all of the girls involved,” she said.

The team took advantage of the opportunity to adjust to the new dynamic of this season’s roster as well as to the leadership of Morgan, who returns to her position as head coach this year after a brief hiatus. “Her return has very positively impacted our team, and we had a very successful tournament to jump start our season,” said Berman.

Though she recognized that this will be a “rebuilding” year for the team, Morgan said that she sees great potential in each of the players. After graduating three seniors last year, the team hopes to recruit more first-years to help rebuild the team. According to Morgan and Berman, the team is still looking to add players to their roster for both the fall and spring seasons. The current five-woman roster will have to make do this weekend at the Mt. Holyoke Invitational on Sept. 24 and 25.