Popson captured her second victory by a stroke.
March 27, 2011
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Assistant
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. - Lady Vol sophomore golfer Erica Popson captured her second victory of the 2010-11 season by grabbing first-place at the Bryan National Collegiate this weekend at the Bryan Park Golf and Enrichment Center.
Tied for eighth and four shots back heading into the final day, Popson vaulted up the leader board by firing a 1-over 73 on Sunday in drizzling, cold conditions to capture medalist honors by one stroke. She finished with a 70-77-73=220 (+4) total to lead the Lady Vols to a runner-up placement. Her 73 was the final round's best score as temperature's topped out at just 37 degrees.
"I knew if I could come out and shoot around even-par I would have a chance to win," Popson said. "I tried to hit a lot of fairways and greens, and reminded myself to try to just make pars. The weather was awful. It was cold and misty, but everybody was playing in the same conditions. Somebody had to win, and I figured I might as well step up."
The 14th-ranked Lady Vol golf team finished with a three-day total of 288-302-307=897 (+33) for runner-up honors - two strokes back of host and 17th-ranked Wake Forest. UT defeated 11 top-50 teams, including five top-25 squads, in the 17-team field. No. 22 North Carolina (+45) placed third, No. 7 Virginia (+46) finished fourth and No. 4 Duke (+47) was fifth.
Sophomore Nathalie Mansson and freshman Kaitlyn Rohrback also tied for seventh with 224 (+8) totals. For Mansson, it's her second top-10 finish of the season, while Rohrback tallied her best-finish as a collegian and led the tournament by shooting 3-under on par-3 holes during the weekend.
Popson Wins Bryan National
Tennessee jumped out to a six-stroke lead after Friday's first-round 288 (E) score, and found itself one stroke back after the second round, before trading the lead with the Demon Deacons during the final 18. The finish gives UT four top-five placements this season.
"Today was a very cold and difficult day," Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon said. "It did not reach 40 degrees, so I'm proud of the team for being tough and staying competitive out there. We were back and forth all day for the lead against Wake Forest, but in the end it came down to the last hole. We had some bogeys on par-5s and sever three-putts that ended up costing us the tournament.
"However, we are starting come along as a team and are moving in the right direction. I am so happy for Erica getting another win, and Kaitlyn and Nathalie had great finishes, too. Sara also had a solid tournament, despite her final round."
Popson was 1-over at the turn on Sunday and moved to even-par after a birdie on the par-5 No. 15. She followed with a bogey on No. 16, but closed the round with pars on the final two holes. She made a six-footer to save par after completing an up-and-down on No. 18 to seal her second career victory.
A native of Davenport, Fla., Popson was spectacular at the Lady Vol-hosted Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championship in October, setting a new Tennessee record for three-day score with a 9-under 207 tally. Popson had to grab the win in a playoff, though, after tying through 54 holes with Ole Miss' Natalie Gleadall.
With Sunday's nasty weather, Popson was glad her second victory didn't take any extra holes to complete.
"It was too cold to go back out there," Popson said. "I'm going to focus on the process of playing well over the next few weeks. I'm hoping to play well and keep playing for the win for the rest of the season."
Wake Forests' Michelle Shin finished second with a 221 (+5) total.
The Lady Vols wrap up the regular season next weekend, April 1-3, at the Ole Miss Golf Course for the Rebel Intercollegiate in Oxford, Miss., before competing for the SEC Championship from April 15-17 in Auburn, Ala.
|LADY VOL SCORES|
|1.||Erica Popson||70-77-73=220 (+4)|
|t7.||Nathalie Mansson||72-76-76=224 (+8)|
|t7.||Kaitlyn Rohrback||72-74-78=224 (+8)|
|t21.||Sara Monberg||74-75-80=229 (+13)|
|t46.||Chessey Thomas||76-81-80=237 (+21)|