LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Navy women’s golf team, led by a veteran senior captain and a promising freshman, secured a third-place finish at the Bucknell Invitational this past weekend. The tournament, held at the Par-70, 5901-yard Bucknell Golf Club, marked their first outing under interim head coach Kylee Sullivan.

Mara Hirtle, the senior captain, finished in second place, while Keira Howard, in her collegiate debut, tied for third on the leaderboard. Navy’s collective performance landed them behind Boston University, which took first place, and Bucknell University, the hosting team. The Mids scored a 57-over par 897 in the 54-hole event, falling short of Boston University’s 48-over par 888 and Bucknell’s 56-over par 896.

Credit: U.S. Naval Academy

Hirtle’s performance was especially noteworthy as she finished with a 10-over par 220 (73-74-73). She trailed by five strokes to the tournament winner, Boston’s Christy Chen, who scored 5-over par 215. This marks Hirtle’s eighth top-5 finish, setting a new program record. She surpassed Christine McDonnell’s seven top-5 finishes achieved from 2018 to 2021.

Freshman Keira Howard also made headlines, firing rounds of 72-75-74 and ending the weekend with an 11-over par 221. Howard became the first Navy freshman to secure a top-5 spot in their collegiate debut since Angelina Chan in 2019.

Senior Stephanie Lee finished in a tie for 10th place with a 17-over par 227, boosted by her 1-over par 71 round on Saturday—the lowest round by a Navy golfer during the tournament. Junior Bridget Hoang and freshman Emma Tang finished 17th and 32nd, respectively. Hoang recovered from a shaky start, ultimately posting a 19-over par 229, while Tang scored a 29-over par 239 in her collegiate debut.

Additionally, sophomores Sue Lee and Hallie Brisco, competing individually, tied for 25th and 36th places. Lee finished at 24-over par 234, and Brisco ended with a 31-over par 241.

“The Bucknell Invitational was a great way to kick off the fall season,” said Sullivan. “The team played hard and had a solid finish. This was also a good chance for us to preview this spring’s Patriot League Championship venue and some of the league’s other teams. We feel confident about our slate’s upcoming events, starting with Penn State’s tournament next weekend.”

The Navy women’s golf team is set to continue its fall schedule at the Nittany Lion Invitational in University Park, Pa., on September 16-17.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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