April 15, 2014
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - UC Davis became just the second team in conference history to win five straight Big West Women's Golf Championships as the No. 37 Aggies posted a 16-stroke victory at San Luis Obispo Country Club on Tuesday afternoon. The Aggies fired a 12-over 304 team score in the final round for a 19-over 895 total, beating second-place Cal State Northridge which finished 35 over. Long Beach State (+46) was third while UC Irvine (+47) placed fourth in the eight-team field.
Beverly Vatananugulkit, the first-day leader, came close to winning the second Big West individual title of her career, leading the Aggies with a third-place tie. She shot a 1-over 74 on Tuesday and was 1 over for the championship.
Sophomore Betty Chen placed sixth at 3 over after shooting 76, while Paige Lee and Blair Lewis tied for seventh and ninth, respectively, after both firing 77s. Lee finished 6 over for the week while Lewis was 9 over. Andrea Wong tied for 24th at 19 over after ending with an 82.
"It means a tremendous amount to win our fifth consecutive Big West Championship," said Aggie head coach Anna Temple. "It's always special to win conference and this year was a unique experience.
"Everyone on our team has the potential to win as an individual and while that didn't happen, everyone worked hard for the team's success," she added. "Today wasn't our best round so we leave feeling good about our win but know we have some work to do. We have a few weeks to prepare for regionals and we will use that time well. With the win, UC Davis claims the Big West's automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Championships which begin with regional rounds scheduled for May 8-10 at Tallahassee, Fla. (Florida State, host), Stillwater, Okla. (Oklahoma State) and Seattle, Wash. (Univ. of Washington).
The NCAA Finals will be held May 20-23 in Tulsa, Okla. UC Davis will find out its regional site during an NCAA selection show on Apr. 28 at 3 p.m. (PDT).
A team effort delivered this year's championship. Vatananugulkit had a solid front nine, collecting eight pars and just one bogey before shooting par-36 on the back with the help of birdies on the par-4 13th and 15th holes.
She opened the tournament with a 1-under 72 on Sunday and came back with a 74 on Monday. Vatananugulkit matched her highest-finish of the year which she first accomplished at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational in Washington in the fall.
Chen had her highest Big West finish with her sixth-place showing. Birdies on the first and sixth holes helped her make her turn 1 under. She had four bogeys on the back before coming in with a 76. Lee, a freshman from Folsom making her first trip to the conference tournament, had two birdies and highlighted her round by covering the front nine even.
Lewis posted her highest finish of the season with a strong tournament. She was just 1 over on the final nine holes and had a solid stretch midway through her round by playing the seventh through 14th holes 2 under. Wong was 5 over after nine holes but was just 4 over on the back, picking up pars on two par-5 holes.
Cal State Fullerton's Martina Edberg and Cal State Northridge's Clariss Guce tied for first-place with 2-under 217 totals but Edberg won medalist honors on the first hole of a playoff. UC Davis began its string of Big West titles in 2010 and has won the title every year since while also claiming the tournament's medalist four times. Its streak of five straight is the second-longest in Big West history, eclipsing the four in a row won by New Mexico State (1997-2000) and UC Irvine (2005-08). San Jose State captured the first 10 conference titles from 1987-1996.
The Aggies have dominated through their championship run, winning by at least 13 strokes each time, including a 29-stroke victory last year. Their 867 team score in 2012 set a conference 54-hole record.
BIG WEST WOMEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
San Luis Obispo, Calif.
San Luis Obispo Country Club
Par 73, 6,196 yards
1. UC DAVIS, 294-297-304-895
2. Cal State Northridge, 307-296-
3. Long Beach State, 304-313-305-922
4. UC Irvine, 305-306-
5. Cal Poly, 313-312-306-931
6. UC Riverside, 316-310-307-933
7. Cal State Fullerton, 308-317- 327-942
8. Hawaii, 321-315- 317-953
T1. Martina Edberg, Cal State Fullerton, 73-73-71-217
T1. Clariss Guce, Cal State Northridge, 74-69-74-217