Men and women's golf compete at only home tournaments of the season

by Michael Cleary | 9/25/17 11:40pm

Ishaan Jajodia | The Dartmouth

The Big Green hit the home links on Saturday and Sunday for the first and only time of the 2017-18 season. Men’s golf finished eighth out of 14 competitors at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge held in Quechee, Vermont, while the women finished third of 11 competitors at the Dartmouth Invitational held at the Hanover Country Club.

The Big Green men closed out the first day of competition on Saturday sitting in seventh place with a 296 (+8). Cornell University and Harvard University led the 14-team field. The team was unable to improve and ended the tournament in eighth place with a score of 599, 23-over-par. Drexel University won the team tournament at 570 (-6). with Princeton University one stroke behind.

Leading the way for the men were senior Ian Kelsey ’18 and freshman James Turner ’21, who tied for 15th overall at three-over-par (147). Turner’s Big Green career is off to an auspicious start — he was the team’s best scorer at last week’s Cornell Invitational as well. Turner was proud of his performance at his first two career tournaments and said that the sunny weather was a factor in his good performance. His success bodes well for the future of the golf program, and Dartmouth also has next season to look forward to when his younger brother Mark Turner will join him on the team.

Although this weekend was the second tournament of the year for the men, it was the women’s season-opener. The team shot a 300 on Saturday and 304 on Sunday, down from an average of 305.5 the previous year. Jessica Kittelberger ’18 tied for seventh to help the team finish 10 strokes behind the University at Albany and one stroke in front of third-place Boston University. Quinnipiac University won the tournament overall by six strokes. The Bobcats were led by Luciana Tobia, who shot a 65 on Saturday, good for 7-under on the par-72 course.

“Overall I think it’s a good start — I will say even the individuals played great,” head coach of women’s golf Alex Kirk said.

Kirk said he was happy to see the tournament go well for the women’s team as he split time coaching eight golfers on the course.

Outside of team play, Dartmouth had impressive results in individual play, presenting Kirk with a dilemma in selecting five players for the team’s trip to the Princeton Invitational next weekend. Catharine Roddy ’19, who was First Team All-Ivy last year after a third place finish at the Ivy League Tournament last season, was Dartmouth’s leading scorer despite not being in the team lineup. She finished fifth overall, one stroke ahead of Kittelberger in the overall standings.

“Roddy was battling a back injury, so we didn’t put her in the main lineup,” Kirk said. “If we had, she tied for fifth overall, and it probably would have helped us.”

Another individual who succeeded for Dartmouth was freshman Julianne Strauch ’21, who finished tied for 11th.

“[My qualifying performance] was not my A game, actually my C or D game,” Strauch said.

But she brought her A game over the weekend, shooting 74 and 75, giving her a low score of +5 for her first competitive college tournament. Strauch has only been with the team since September, which makes her performance even more impressive considering the difficulty of the Hanover Country Club, according to Kirk.

“The course sets up well for me,” Strauch said.

Strauch credited the small team size with helping her become close with her teammates and hit the ground running for the first tournament.

Kirk’s ultimate goal for the team is a good performance at the Ivy League Tournament, where it tied with Brown University for fifth place last year. It was the team’s best finish in over a decade, and the program only seems to be moving forward. Although they faced no other Ivy League schools this weekend, the women can look forward to their next tournament at Princeton, which will include face most of their Ivy competitors.