April 24, 2013
GULF SHORES, ALA. - The Tulane golf program added its fifth Conference USA Championship to its collection, and its third in the last five years, with a 27-stroke victory today after combining for a 3-over 291 total during the final round at the Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Tulane entered Wednesday's finale with a 12-stroke cushion over second place East Carolina, but pulled away from the field on the last day by adding 15 strokes to its lead. The 27-stroke margin of victory was TU's largest in its five league championships and the Wave completed the event with a 13-over 877 total.
All five Green Wave golfers finished among the Top-10 individuals, including sophomore Gemma Dryburgh, who tied for first, and returned to the course following a lightning delay for a three-way play-off with East Carolina's Nico Engstroem Skaug and SMU's Felecia Espericuta for individual medalist honors.
The trio returned to the 18th hole in a steady rain but Dryburgh came up short in the first hole of the playoff. Skaug claimed the individual title two holes later over Espericuta.
"It's always special to win a conference title and that was obviously one of our goals for this season," Tulane head coach Andrew Pratt said. "We've had three second place finishes this year and to have the lead and win in this fashion is very special. I thought our golfers were fantastic this week and played very solid today, especially on the back nine. I tell our golfers all the time that we don't have one first team All-American, but we have five great players who are capable of shooting under par at any time and this was really a team effort this week."
The freshmen duo of Emily Penttila and Silvia Garces each turned in a pair of fourth-place finishes. Garces fired a 2-over 74 today, while Penttila carded a 3-over 75 on the day and each golfer finished 5-over during the 54-hole event.
Senior Maribel Lopez Porras rebounded from a tough outing during her first 36 holes and led the way for Tulane with a 2-under 70 today and posted a sixth-place finish overall with a 6-over total.
Freshman Madison Opfer went to the clubhouse with a 7-over 79 and posted an eighth-place performance with an 8-over total.
Dryburgh, Garces and Penttila were each named to the 2013 C-USA All-Tournament team.
The win is the sixth overall tournament victory for the golf program since it was re-launched in 2008-09 and today's victory is the first C-USA title for TU since winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Tulane also claimed league titles in 2004 and 2005. The Wave notched its first tournament win this season and has now finished among the top five in as many spring tournaments and seven out of nine outings this season.
East Carolina (+36) was behind the Green Wave in second place, while UCF (+39) was third and SMU (+50) and Tulsa (+50) each tied for fourth place.
The Green Wave advances to NCAA Regional action, May 9-11. The region and tournament site will be announced at a later date.
1 Tulane 291-295=586 (+10) T1 Gemma Dryburgh 74-74-72=220 (+4) T4 Emily Penttila 72-74-75=221 (+5) T4 Silvia Garces 71-76-74=221 (+5) T6 Maribel Lopez Porras 75-77-70=222 (+6) T8 Madison Opfer 74-71-79=224 (+8)
1. Tulane (+13), 2. East Carolina (+36), 3. UCF (+39), T4. SMU (+50), T4. Tulsa (+50), 6. Memphis (+59), T7. Southern Miss (+62), T7. Old Dominion (+62), 9. UTEP (+69), 10. UAB (+109), 11. Marshall (+125)
Individual Results (top-10 golfers only)
T1. Gemma Dryburgh, Tulane (+4), T1. Felecia Espericuta, SMU (+4), T1. Nico Engstroem Skaug (+4), T4. Silvia Garces, Tulane (+5), T4. Emily Penttila (+5), T6. Maribel Lopez Porras, Tulane (+6), T6. F. Gustafsson Spang, East Carolina (+6), T8. Madison Opfer, Tulane (+8), T8. Antonia Von Wnuck, Tulsa (+8), T10. Shu-Yin Liu, Tulsa (+9), T10. Samantha Morrell, Old Dominion (+9)