March 10, 2009
SORRENTO, Fla. -- The Tennessee women's golf team wrapped up the UCF Challenge with its best three-day total of the season en route to placing eighth among 18 teams on Tuesday at the RedTail Golf Club.
The Lady Vols began the third round slow, while playing the back nine, but bounced back on the front to fire a 292 - their best final round of the season. UT's total of 290-298-292=880 (+16) bettered this season's previous low by 10 strokes and placed the Orange and White above seven Golfweek top-20 teams.
"Today was a really good day for our team," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "I'm really proud of this team. It was a great effort by everybody and a solid tournament for us."
The Lady Vols finished ahead of No. 15 North Carolina (ninth, 881), No. 12 Pepperdine (t10th, 882), No. 13 Purdue (t10th, 882), No. 20 Arizona (12th, 883), No. 9 Duke (13th, 884), No. 5 Alabama (14th, 885) and No. 14 Vanderbilt (16th, 295).
UT's previous season-best team total was 890 (+26) at the Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championships in October.
No. 2 UCLA ran away with the tournament by carding a 281 on the final day, and finished with a total score of 850 (-14). No. 1 Arizona State finished second (857), while No. 6 Oklahoma State was third (861).
Senior Nicole Smith was spectacular on the Sunday and Monday, firing rounds of 68 and 70, respectively, but struggled on Tuesday, carding a 77. However, Smith's 54-hole total of 68-70-77=215 (-1) tied her for 14th and is the lowest score by a Lady Vol this season. Her score is also the second-best of her career, ranking only behind the 211 (-5) she carded at the 2006 Fall Preview. She finished the UCF Challenge with 11 birdies and one eagle.
Freshman Nathalie Mansson rebounded from back-to-back bogeys on No. 14 and No. 15 to shoot 4-under-par on the front nine, and finish with a third round score of 1-under 71. Her three-day total of 219 (+3) tied for 28th.
Sophomore Lauren Spurlock tied Mansson for the best Lady Vol round of the day with a 1-under 71. The Germantown, Tenn., native carded two birdies and just one bogey during the final round. Her three-day total of 76-76-71=223 (+7) tied her for 52nd and is a career-best by nine strokes.
Junior Ginny Brown fired a 74, her best round of the tournament, on Tuesday. Brown, who was even-par on the front nine, finished with a total score of 77-76-74=228 (+11) to tie for 61st.
Junior Diana Cantú fired her third consecutive round of 76 on Tuesday to finish with a three-day total of 76-76-76=228 (+12). She tied for 68th in the 96-person field.
"Lauren and Ginny had really good scores today for us and that was great," Pavon said. "Nathalie came back from a bad start to shoot 1-under, which showed a lot of fight and pride.
UCLA's Stephanie Kono took medalist honors by carding a 6-under 66 on the final day to finish with a total score of 208 (-8), one stroke better than Florida's Jessica Yadloczky.
Tennessee will be in action again from April 3-5 at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro, N.C.
|Lady Vol Placements|
|T14.||Nicole Smith||69-70-77=215 (-1)|
|T28.||Nathalie Mansson||70-78-71=219 (+3)|
|T52.||Lauren Spurlock||76-76-71=223 (+7)|
|T61.||Ginny Brown||77-76-74=227 (+11)|
|T68.||Diana Cantú||76-76-76=228 (+12)|
|Lady Vol Team Score|