Amherst Places 4th at Vassar Invite; Milbourn Takes Individual Title

Hayley Milbourn shot a tournament-
low 77 on Sunday to win the title.

Courtesy of Vassar College

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (April 13, 2008) While millions of Americans tuned their plasma, flat screen, high definition television sets to CBS to watch Tiger, Phil and Veejay; 55 women from some of the finest small colleges and universities in the nation all set their sights on individual and team glory. When all was said and done, Amherst’s Hayley Milbourne would walk away as the individual champion and Williams College claiming the overall team championship.

While “Amen Corner,” is impossible to recreate, it seemed that the 10th hole was a crucible for many of the players throughout both days of competition, with less than a handful scoring better than bogey golf on Casperkill’s equivalent to Augusta.

 The final round of the Vassar College Women’s invitational was marked by sporadic weather patterns and much cooler temperatures.  Rain and wind around Casperkill Golf Course certainly was a factor affecting the overall play. The stories of the morning surrounded the consistent play of St. Mary’s College Freshman, Rosie O’Connor (Milwaukee, WI/Holy Angels) and Amherst College first year student Hayley Milbourn (Baltimore, MD/RPCS).

O’Connor used a 3 over-par 39 on the front nine holes, en route to a final score of 80 on the morning, a two day total of 161 for the event. Her score of 81 during yesterday’s opening round of play had been the lowest of field for the afternoon, and Sunday morning she repeated that feat, notching the best score for the second consecutive day of play. 

“I really enjoyed this course, the greens were a little unforgiving, especially on 18. Yesterday I double bogeyed 18, but today I was able to chip onto the green and 2 putt, so I felt much better closing out today’s round.” O’Connor had a lot to be happy about with her outstanding and consistent play throughout the tournament. Her ability to adjust to the weather and more challenging holes is uncanny for a freshman. “Collegiate Golf is much different than high school; my play struggled somewhat in the fall, but now I think I’m much better prepared for the length and competition.”

Milbourn shot an amazing 77 in the final round of competition to close out the invitational Sunday afternoon. “I tried to relax a little more than usual today in my approach. I felt very loose, this is the first time I’ve play this course and the greens were tough. I made much better approach shots and felt more confident as the day wore on,” said the first year student from Amherst.

Other outstanding individual performances came from exhibition entry Joelle Sacheli (Pittsford, NY/Pittsford-Mendon) from St. John Fisher College. Sacheli, the lone Cardinal representative, followed a great opening round score of 83, with an 85 on day two. Sacheli finished with a total of 168 strokes for the tournament.

Middlebury’s Julie Ellenburger (Concord, MA/Middlesex) had an impressive tournament as well. After shooting an 87 on the first day; Ellenburger tallied an 83 for a total of 170 for the event.

As the morning chilled into the afternoon, the race for the top spot intensified; as four teams Williams, St. Mary’s, Middlebury and Amherst all within 15 strokes of each other.