Three Aztecs place among individual Top 25 in season-opening tournament
Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
September 10, 2019 (Albuquerque) - Buoyed by three top-25 individual performances, the San Diego State women’s golf team finished in fifth place at the Branch Law Firm Dick McGuire Invitational on Tuesday after posting a combined 4-under-par 284 during the final round at UNM Championship Course.
The Aztecs logged their lowest team score of the week, but slipped one notch in the standings, completing their season-opening tournament at 1-under 863 on the par-72, 6,317-yard track. Despite the stumble, SDSU still managed the third-best 54-hole score in program history and were one of just five squads in the 15-school field to record a red figure for the event.
Consequently, the Aztecs finished a distant 15 strokes behind champion Kent State (-16), which surged into the top spot on the strength of a 10-under 278, while Pepperdine (-9) dropped into second, followed by Iowa State and Mississippi, which tied for third at 2-under, one shot over SDSU.
Individually, the Aztecs were led by Sara Kjellker (Hollviken, Sweden) and Gioia Carpinelli (Boppelsen) who landed in a tie for eighth place at 3-under 213.
Kjellker tied for the SDSU’s low card of the day, firing a 69 to climb six places on the leaderboard. The Aztec junior offset two bogeys with five birdies, including a successful conversion on the par-4, 343-yard No. 17, which ranked as the third-toughest hole of the day.
On the flip side, Carpinelli was not as fortunate, tumbling six places from the second position after shooting a final-round 74. Despite four birdies, including an impressive make on the par-4, 379-yard No. 5, which ranked as the fifth-most difficult hole of the week, the SDSU junior was hampered by inconsistency, suffering four bogeys, as well as a double bogey at the par-4 15th.
With their scores, Kjellker and Carpinelli finished six shots behind Pepperdine’s Momoka Kobori, who captured medalist honors at 9-under 207 after firing a final-round 64, while Indiana’s Priscilla Schmid and Kent State’s Karoline Stormo tied for second at 7-under.
In addition, Fernanda Escauriza (Asunción, Paraguay) tied for 23rd with a 3-over 219 after logging her second straight 72. The Aztec senior jumped two spots in the standings thanks to a team-high 14 pars, countering two bogeys with a pair of birdies, including her fourth-to-last hole at the par-5, 505-yard No. 1
The biggest gain of the day, however, was made by Bernice Olivarez Ilas (Ayala Alabang, Philippines), who vaulted 30 places into a tie for 32nd at 5-over 221 after matching Kjellker for team-best honors with a 69. In just her third collegiate round, the SDSU freshman topped the squad with six birdies, including three straight on holes 11-13. Among her conversions was an impressive drain on the par-3, 144-yard 11th, which ranked as the second-toughest green of the day and sixth-most difficult of the week.
Finishing three shots behind Olivarez Ilas was senior Daniela Anastasi (La Jolla, Calif.), who completed the tournament in a tie for 40th at 8-over 224 after posting a 75 over the final 18 holes. The La Jolla High product made birdie on the par-5, 475-yard 18th, but it wasn’t enough to ease the sting of four bogeys.
The Aztec delegation also featured Ella Adams (Adelaide, Australia), who tied for 45th with a 9-over 225 after shooting a 76 on Tuesday. The junior transfer sank one of her two birdies at the par-4, 386-yard No. 6, which ranked as the fourth-toughest hole of the week. However, six bogeys, including four on her back nine sandbagged her round.
San Diego State returns to the fairways in two weeks when it competes in the Golfweek Conference Challenge Sept. 23-25 at Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott, Colorado.
UNM Championship South Course
Par 72, 6,317 yards
Team Standings (Top 5 of 15 schools)
1. Kent State
T3. Ole Miss
T3. Iowa State
5. San Diego State 285-294-284—863 (-1)
Individual Leaders (Top 5 of 86 players + SDSU)
1. Momoka Kabori, Pepperdine 69-74-64—207 (-9)
T2. Karoline Stormo, Kent State 68-73-68—209 (-7)
T2. Priscilla Schmid, Indiana 71-68-70—209 (-7)
T4. Alexa Melton, Pepperdine 70-67-73—210 (-6)
T4. Caley McGinty, Kent State 72-69-69—210 (-6)
T8. Sara Kjellker, SDSU 69-75-69—213 (-3)
T8. Gioia Carpinelli, SDSU 66-73-74—213 (-3)
T23. Fernanda Escauriza, SDSU 75-72-72—219 (+3)
T32. Bernice Olivarez Ilas, SDSU 76-76-69—221 (+5)
T40. Daniela Anastasi, SDSU 75-74-75—224 (+8)
T45. Ella Adams, SDSU^ 74-75-76—225 (+9)
^ - Competed as an individual