Julia Allison has won three golf tournaments in her career. And she's played in only six tournaments.
The freshman has quickly risen to the top of the predominantly young women's golf team, continuing her success with a second consecutive victory. She braved the elements of Osterville, Mass., this weekend to top the competition at the Boston College Invitational.
Allison led Princeton's all-freshman squad to a fourth-place overall finish in the 13-team tournament. Because of frigid temperatures – the windchill was 11 degrees – and driving rain, play was cut short to only 27 holes, instead of the usual 36.
In a weekend of plummeting temperatures and rising scores, Allison maintained consistent play throughout the tournament. After a first round score of 80, she delivered a nine-hole 43 Sunday to secure the title.
Winning at the difficult Oyster Harbors Golf Course puts Allison in a good position heading into the Ivy League Championship April 16-18 in Bethpage, N.Y.
Allison's victory was the highlight in a fairly disappointing team performance.
The Tigers' cumulative score of 552 placed them 36 strokes behind team champion Hartford. More importantly, Princeton finished seven strokes behind Ivy rival Dartmouth.
"Usually we're fairly consistent," freshman Natalie Christensen said. "This weekend we weren't so. We probably could have done a little better."
Christensen finished with the team's second-lowest two-day total score. Her nine-hole performance of 37 was the best score of the tournament Sunday.
If Princeton is to redeem last year's disappointment in the Ivies, the team must apply the lessons learned from this weekend's performance.
The Boston College Invitational tested how the young Princeton team can deal with the intangibles of competition. There can be no excuses at the Ivy Championships.
Last year, the individual success of Mary Moan '97 defined the Princeton team. Her superb career anchored the team's accomplishments.
The one thing, however, that Moan couldn't give the team was a victory in the inaugural Ivy Championships. Despite putting forth the best effort of the entire team, Yale still finished on top.
This year's team has set its sights on nothing less than a win at Ivies.
"Our goal is to win the team title and to have one of our players win (medalist honors)," Christensen said.
The Princeton team has evolved from last year's one-woman show to this spring's balanced squad. With the leadership of returning players and the grit of the young freshmen standouts, anything is possible.
The key to the championship is not in the team's hands but in its heads. The shots will start falling if the Tigers can keep their cool. If the team can remain unaffected by a bad shot, hole or round, it can truly dominate its Ivy competition.
Allison may well win the individual title. One day she may even overshadow Moan's career accomplishments.
If the Tigers learned anything from last year, it is that one player doesn't make a team. Consistent shot-making from the entire team is the surest way to success.
Only if the Tigers show up as a team, can they win it all.