Aztec senior wins tournament by one stroke for first collegiate victory
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
April 18. 2018 (Rancho Mirage, Calif.) - San Diego State women’s golfer Mila Chaves (Asunción, Paraguay) claimed the individual title at the 2018 Mountain West Championship on Wednesday after shooting an even-par 72 during the final round at Mission Hills Country Club.
With her total, Chaves completed the event with a 54-hole total of 3-under 213 to give the Aztecs their second straight medalist at the conference tournament after fellow compatriot Fernanda Escauriza (Asunción, Paraguay) accomplished the feat last year.
“I don’t know what it is about this place, but Mila and Fernanda absolutely love this course,” said San Diego State head coach Leslie Spalding. “I am so proud of Mila’s performance. Watching her play with us is just so much fun. She loves these greens and can see the putts very well, which really contributed to her win today.”
As a team, SDSU landed in the runner-up position behind UNLV for the third consecutive year after logging a collective 2-over 290 during the final round on the par-72, 6,270-yard Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Despite posting their lowest team score of the week, the Aztecs were unable to significantly narrow the gap against the Rebels (+8), who won by eight shots.
With its result, SDSU finished with a combined 16-over 880, while Colorado State (+31) was a distant third, followed by New Mexico (+38) and Nevada (+39).
Chaves, who lost a one-hole playoff at the MW Championship as a freshman in 2015, avenged her earlier disappointment with a steady performance on Wednesday, edging UNLV’s Mackenzie Raim (-2) by one shot for her first collegiate victory.
The two players were all even after Chaves made bogey on the par-5, 494-yard No. 11. However, the Aztec senior jumped in front to stay on the very next green, draining a birdie on the par-4, 375-yard No. 12, which ranked as the third-toughest hole of the week, while her Rebel adversary made par.
Chaves increased her lead to two strokes in the de facto match after notching a par-4 at No. 15, while Raim suffered a bogey. The native Paraguayan finished with three additional pars over her final three holes, holding off her UNLV challenger, who carded a birdie on the par-3, 145-yard 17th, but could draw no closer.
With average individual scores increasing for the third day in row up to 76.84, Chaves became the lone golfer in the field of 45 players to complete all three rounds at or below par. She totaled three birdies on the day at No. 2 and No. 4, offsetting a potentially damaging double bogey-6 on the third green.
Two other SDSU competitors made significant gains on the leaderboard to finish in the top 10, as Georgia Lacey (Del Mar, Calif.) vaulted eight spots into a tie for sixth at 3-over 219, while sophomore Fernanda Escauriza ended in a tie for eighth at 4-over 220.
Lacey recorded a final-round 71, sinking four birdies to counter a double bogey-6 at No. 10 and another bogey on the aforementioned 12th en route to her highest placement at the MW Championship.
On the other hand, Escauriza carded the low round of the tournament with a career-best 68 over the final 18 holes, posting four birdies, including an impressive drain on the par-4, 402-yard No. 3, which ranked as the toughest hole of the week.
Conversely, Gioia Carpinelli (Boppelsen, Switzerland) was unable to avoid a drop of five places, but still finished alone in 20th at 12-over 228 after shooting a 79. The day started ominously for the Aztec freshman, who opened with a double bogey followed by two additional blemishes at No. 4 and No. 8. Carpinelli tried to regroup with a birdie on the ninth green followed by four consecutive pars. However, two bogeys and another double on her final five holes derailed her momentum.
Elsewhere, Sara Kjellker (Hollviken, Sweden) completed her first MW Championship in a tie for 35th at 20-over 236 following an uncharacteristic 80. The SDSU freshman experienced a dearth of birdies and was unable to overcome the sting of six bogeys and a double.
San Diego State will await word of its postseason destination on Wednesday, April 25 when NCAA regional bids are announced live on the Golf Channel, starting at 2:30 p.m.
2018 Mountain West Championship
Mission Hills C.C.
Dinah Shore Tournament Course
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Par 72, 6,270 yards
1. UNLV 287-291-294—872 (+8)
2. San Diego State 298-292-290—880 (+16)
3. Colorado State 306-295-294—895 (+31)
4. New Mexico 298-300-304—902 (+38)
5. Nevada 302-295-306—903 (+39)
6. San José State 300-315-295—910 (+46)
7. Fresno State 295-309-309—913 (+49)
8. Wyoming 307-305-315—927 (+63)
8. Boise State 303-311-316—930 (+66)
Individual Leaders (Top 5 of 45 players + SDSU)
1. Mila Chaves, SDSU 72-69-72—213 (-3)
2. Mackenzie Raim, New Mexico 70-73-71—214 (-2)
3. Katrina Prendergast, Colorado State 77-70-69—216 (E)
T4. Celyn Khoo, Nevada 75-71-71—217 (+1)
T4. Ellen Secor, Colorado State 74-71-72—217 (+1)
T6. Georgia Lacey, SDSU 74-74-71—219 (+3)
T8. Fernanda Escauriza, SDSU 78-74-68—220 (+4)
20. Gioia Carpinelli, SDSU 74-75-79—228 (+12)
T35. Sara Kjellker, SDSU 78-78-80—236 (+20)