By: Rick Bender
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. â€” With a pair of solid rounds, the Dartmouth women’s golf team finished the first two rounds of the Lady Blue Hen Invitational tied for fifth with host Delaware in the 11-team field on Saturday. Sophomore Kaitlyn Lees and freshman Angela Zhang both ended the day among the top 20 on the individual leader board at 3-over and 5-over par, respectively as the Big Green carded a 300-299â€”599 (+23).
Penn turned in the two lowest rounds of the day with a 289-280â€”569 (-7) to enjoy a 12-stroke lead over Seton Hall, while Rutgers is in third at 11-over par and Georgetown fourth at 14-over on the 6,126-yard, par-72 course at Rehoboth Beach Country Club.
The day began ominously for Lees as she teed off on the 163-yard par-3 fifth and ended up with a double bogey. But she quickly righted her ship with her first two birdies on 9 and 10, then concluded her round with three more birdies on the final five holes to bring herself back to par. On her second tour, she was 4-over after 11 holes, then dropped a pair of birdies and a bogey for a 3-over 75, wrapping up the two rounds in a tie for 13th overall.
Zhang, meanwhile, produced three birdies and 10 pars on her first 18 for a 2-over 74. In the afternoon, she nearly duplicated her performance with three more birdies and nine pars for a 3-over 75, leaving her tied for 18th at 5-over par.
The other three Big Green golfer all closed out the day tied for 38th at 11-over par, but they reached the score in very different ways. Junior Julianne Strauch featured a trio of birdies in her first round, and only a triple-bogey truly blemished her 18 as she carded a 76 (+4). Nine pars and a birdie in the second round left her with a 7-over 79 and a 155 (+11) overall.
Freshman Samantha Yao sank 12 pars in a 6-over 78 first tour of the course, then improved by one stroke with two birdies balanced out by two double-bogeys. Sophomore Kristen Chen had the largest variation, struggling with an 83 (+11) over her first 18 before rallying for three birdies and 12 pars to shoot even par and remain 11-over on the day.
Dartmouth also had senior Maddie Nelson playing as an individual, improving markedly on the second 18 as Chen did, shooting a 1-over 73 with four birdies to settle for a 151 (+7), tying her for 25th in the 69-player field.
The top two golfers belong to Penn, led by Susan Xiao with a 70-66â€”136 (-8) that featured 13 birdies. Rina Jung of the Quakers is five strokes back and is the only other competitor to break par over the two rounds.
The third and final round will tee off with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.