Feb. 11, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane golf team saved its best performance for today's final round of the UCF Challenge, as the Green Wave combined for a 4-under 284 total to post an eighth-place finish at the Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Fla.
It was not the kind of finish the team was looking for when it opened its spring season this past Sunday. However, after recording a 20-over 308 total to open the first round, the Green Wave flexed its muscle and gave its fans a glimpse of its capabilities by playing the final 36 holes at 7-under par and making the huge jump from 18th to eighth place to complete the tournament.
Along the way, Tulane's line-up showed its versatility as all five golfers recorded at least one round under par, while sophomore Emily Penttila recorded a 1-under par effort in each of her last two rounds.
Today, junior Gemma Dryburgh and Belen Goicoechea carried the load for the Green Wave. Both golfers completed the final round with a pair of 3-under 69s, while Penttila fired her 1-under 71 to give Tulane three golfers under par for the second straight day.
Dryburgh notched four birdies and was guilty of just one bogey on the day en route to her best round of her junior campaign and tied Penttila for 26th place. But the big story of the day was the emergence of Goicoechea, who entered the tournament with just one round under par for her brief collegiate career.
During today's final round, Goicoechea logged seven birdies, including five straight at one point, which dropped her to 5-under of the day. She was forced to settle on three bogeys and one last birdie on four of her final five holes to log her lowest round and a 63rd place finish.
Sophomore Madison Opfer carded a 3-over 75 on the day and finished in 50th place, while classmate Silvia Garces got off to a rough start and was unable to duplicate her second round, 2-under 70, and went to the clubhouse with a 6-over 78 and an 80th place finish.
"Today, we came out with the same focus and determination that we had in Monday's second round and we once again got out to a slow start, but the team hung in and we started making birdies," Tulane head coach Lorne Don said. "The highlight of the day was Belen, who made five birdies in a row, which is something you do not see very often from a freshman. Silvia had a tough day, but the other four really hung in there. We had three players under par for the second straight day. I thought we played well the last two rounds and really came close to playing exceptionally well.
"We will now turn our attention to the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship and our team is already talking about the tournament and cannot wait to play. It is very exciting when you have some of the top teams in the country coming to your home course. We will spend the next week and a half preparing ready for it."
Host UCF led from wire-to-wire to claim the team title on its home course. The Knights finished one stroke ahead of Iowa State, while Miami (Fla.) was third, Kentucky was fourth and Minnesota and GRU Augusta tied for fifth place.
Individually, UCF's Fanny Cnops led from start to finish and completed all three of her rounds under par to claim individual medalist honors with a three-stroke win over Casey Kennedy of GRU Augusta.
Tulane returns to action when it hosts one of the top spring tournaments in women's collegiate golf. The Green Wave will host a 17-team field at the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship, Feb. 23-25, at the English Turn Golf & Country Club.
Among this year's 17-team field are eight teams currently ranked among the nation's Top-25 programs (Golfstat.com), while a total of 12 of the 17 teams are rated among the Top-50 programs in the country.
A total of 19 of the nation's top-50 ranked individuals will compete in the 2014 Championship, including 13 golfers among the top-25 in the country.
8 Tulane 308-285-284=877 (+13) T26 Emily Penttila 76-71-71=218 (+2) T26 Gemma Dryburgh 75-74-69=218 (+2) T50 Madison Opfer 77-70-75=222 (+6) T63 Belen Goicoechea 81-74-69=224 (+8) T80 Silvia Garces 80-70-78=228 (+12)
1. UCF (-7), 2. Iowa State (-6), 3. Miami (Fla.) (E), 4. Kentucky (+2) T5. Minnesota (+5), T5. GRU Augusta (+5), 7. East Tennessee State (+10), 8. Tulane (+13), 9. Texas State (+14), 10. Wisconsin (+17), T11. East Carolina (+18), T11. Campbell (+18), 13. Georgia State (+19), 14. SMU (+20), T15. FIU (+25), T15. New Mexico (+25), 17. Kennesaw State (+27), 18. South Florida (+30), 19. Western Carolina (+45)
Players Results (Top-10 only)
1. Fanny Cnops, UCF (-8), 2. Casey Kennedy, GRU Augusta (-5), 3. Sian Evans, East Tennessee State (-4), T4. Jenny Haglund, SMU (-3), T4. Ashley Holder, UCF (-3), T4. Prima Thammaraks, Iowa State (-3), T7. Ashley Burke, South Florida (-2), T7. Chonlada Chavanun, Iowa State (-2), T7. Cylia Damerau, Kentucky (-2), T7. Daniela Darquea, Miami (Fla.) (-2), T7. Mary Muchaly, UCF (-2), T7. Kaew Preachuen, Kennesaw State (-2), T7. Leticia Ras-Anderica, Miami (Fla.) (-2)