April 25, 2012
GULF SHORES, Ala. - Tulane junior golfer Maribel Lopez Porras fired a 1-under 71 during the final round of the 2012 Conference USA Women's Golf Championships and captured the first tournament title of her collegiate career by four strokes, while the Green Wave combined for a 16-over 304 total and recorded a third place finish for the second straight year at the Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club.
With her win, Porras became the third Green Wave golfer to claim individual honors at the C-USA Championships in the last four years and the fifth overall. She joins former Tulane golfers Daniela Holmqvist (2009), teammate Ashley McKenney (2010), Alison Walshe (2005) and three-time winner Pam Buff (1998-2000).
Today, Porras entered the final round just two strokes off the lead. After registering a bogey on the first hole, Porras roared to the top of the leaderboard thanks to four straight birdies and five total on the front nine and was 4-under at the turn. On the back nine, she was forced to settle with a bogey on 11 and was guilty of a triple bogey on 14 but a birdie on 15 and a four-stroke lead kept her out of any danger of surrendering the lead. For all intents and purposes she had already bagged the honor by the turn.
Porras played even par golf on the final three holes and is now the fifth Tulane golfer to log a tournament title since program was re-launched in 2008, joining McKenney, Holmqvist and former golfers Janine Fellows and Linn Gustafsson.
Porras' effort overshadowed the Wave's worst round of the tournament. Tulane began the day just seven strokes out of the lead but couldn't put together a comeback. Most of the Wave's troubles came on the back nine where TU finished with two double bogeys, a triple bogey and a quadruple bogey.
Tulsa produced a 6-over team effort, while UCF made the most of the Green Wave's shortcomings to slip past Tulane and post a second place finish.
"We got off to a great start today and our goal was for everyone to shoot par or better and I believe each of our golfers took that to heart last night and came out ready to play this morning," Tulane head coach Andrew Pratt said. "We cut it to six shots at the turn and I thought we were playing well, but we hit a wall coming down the stretch. We haven't been in this position this year with the schedule we've played as far as being in the lead or competing for a tournament title. But I think this is a good learning experience for us and will help us in two weeks at regionals. We are definitely going to have to finish better if we want to advance to nationals.
"This is a great win for Maribel. She hasn't had the best spring but she showed today she was a gamer. She came out today determined to play well and win and stuck to her game plan. She got off to a quick start and basically put the tournament away at the turn. She is very deserving of the individual title."
Porras was joined on the C-USA All-Tournament team by SMU's Felicia Espericueta, Tulsa's Marita Engzelius and Kristina Merkle, UCF's Katie Mitchell.
"Today I had a great game plan and it really worked for me," Porras said. "Knowing where to put the ball on each hole and my ball placement really helped me today and made the difference. It's an amazing feeling to finally win my first tournament. I was so close so many times and I came into today with a different mental plan and it worked and I hope to keep doing it."
3 Tulane 301-296-304=901 (+37) 1 Maribel Lopez Porras 73-72-71=216 (E) T15 Gemma Dryburgh 75-76-78=229 (+13) T15 Ashley McKenney 74-75-80=229 (+13) T21 Stephanie Wagstaff 80-73-79=232 (+16) 28 Samantha Troyanovich 79-79-76=234 (+18)
1. Tulsa (+20), 2. UCF (+33), 3. Tulane (+37), T4. Memphis (+65), T4. SMU (+65), 6. East Carolina (+66), 7. UTEP (+80), 8. Marshall (+85), 9. UAB (+86), 10. Southern Miss (+127)
Individual Results (Top-10 Only):
1. Maribel Lopez Porras, Tulane (E), 2. Felicia Espericueta, SMU (+4), T3. Marita Engzelius, (+5), T3. Katie Mitchell, UCF (+5), 5. Kristina Merkle, Tulsa (+6), 6. Monifa Sealy, UCF (+7), T7. Amy Otteson, East Carolina (+8), T7. Kamryn Ruffin, Tulsa (+8), T7. Korakot Simsiriwong, Marshall (+8), T7, Caitlin Watts (+8)