May 20, 2005
SUNRIVER, Ore.-- On a day in which strong winds, rain and hail peppered the Meadows Course at the Sunriver Resort, the sixth-ranked Lady Volunteer golf team fought through it all to surge to a sixth-place tie as the 2005 NCAA Women's Golf Championships concluded on Friday evening. Tennessee fired the best round in school history at the event, one-over-par 285, en route to a tournament total of 1187, which toppled the school standard (1193) set at last year's NCAA Championships. UT had entered the day in a three-way tie for 10th place. On the high-pressure final round, a pair of juniors led the way for the Orange and White, as Golda Johansson and Violeta Retamoza both turned in one-below-par efforts of 70.
"We finally had the round that we have been looking for," said Lady Vol head coach Judi Pavon. "The team has been playing so well all week. Today we just went out a little more aggressive and a few more putts dropped. The middle two rounds we were really missing a low score, so to have Golda and Violeta come in under par, and to throw out a 74 for the high score is pretty amazing. The weather conditions were not good to play in again, so I am really proud of them and I know they are proud of themselves."
Retamoza, an Aguascalientes, Mexico, native was locked in as she hit the links, carding back-to-back birdies to start the day. Three bogeys in the next five holes brought the junior to one-over, but that was short lived. A birdie on the 17th followed by a par on the 18th placed her even with nine to play. Six pars and two birdies on the front nine pushed Retamoza to a strong finish on the day. Her tournament total of 296 is the fifth-best in the annals of UT golf and is a personal low at the event. She finished in a stalemate for 16th, which ties as the seventh-best showing by an orange-clad golfer at nationals. Last year Retamoza tied for 49th.
"I am very happy with the results today," said Retamoza. "I didn't make as many mistakes as I had in the previous rounds and a couple of birdies dropped. I think this round was very important to us and will give us a good start for next year."
Johansson had a good start to the round, making two birdies to offset a pair of bogeys in the first six holes. The junior mixed in four pars to make the turn at even on the day. Over the final nine holes the Lund, Sweden, native continued to play well, tallying six pars and two birdies. It is the second straight year in which Johansson has fired a 70 on the final round at the event. Her four-day-total of 300 is the 10th-lowest sum in school history at the tournament and netted her a tie for 45th. At last year's NCAAs, she claimed an 88th-place tie.
"My round today was very nice," said Johansson. "It was very solid. I didn't make a lot of mistakes and I kept the ball in the fairway, which gave me a lot of birdie chances."
Sarah Bonner-Shanks (Kingsport, Tenn.) bogeyed the first hole of her round, but the senior rallied with four pars and one birdie over the next five holes. Following a bogey on the 16th, she immediately got the stroke back by making a birdie on the 17th. A par on the 18th allowed Bonner-Shanks to head to the front nine even on the day. Two straight bogeys on one and two did not rattle the N.C. State transfer, as she birdied the third hole. Bonner-Shanks then made par at the remaining six holes to wrap up the round with a total of 72. The score of 303 is the lowest in Big Orange history at the event by a UT senior and propelled her to a 60th-place tie.
Marci Turner (Tompkinsville, Ky.) had a very difficult beginning to her day, as she carded a double bogey and a bogey in the first two holes. The freshman proved her mental toughness, however, rallying for an incredible stretch of par or better over the next 14 holes. Although she bogeyed the 8th, Turner remained confident and calmly buried a par putt to wrap up her round with a score of two-over 73. Her tournament total of 298 is the best ever by a UT freshman at the national championships and ties as the seventh lowest in program history. She finished deadlocked for 34th.
Jessica Shepley (Oakville, Ontario) opened strong by bagging five pars and one birdie in the initial six holes of the back nine. The senior bogeyed the 16th, but did not lose confidence as she made par the next two holes to turn at even. On the front nine, Shepley tallied six pars to conclude the round with a total of 74 for the third straight day. She finished the tournament with a score of 304, putting her in a tie for 68th.
The incredible closing round by the Lady Vols was the second-lowest in the four days of play by any team at the Championships, trailing only National Champion Duke's effort of 278 during the third day. UT, which began the round trailing Arkansas, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Arizona State, surpassed them all but the Buckeyes, who joined Tennessee in sixth place. It is the second-best showing in school history at the event for the Big Orange. It also marks the second time in Pavon's coaching career that she has guided the Orange and White to a top-10 finish, as the 2000 squad brought home fifth place.
The effort brings to a close what has been a tremendous 2004-05 campaign for Pavon's charges. On the year, UT won the program's first Regional crown, with a first-place tying accomplishment at the NCAA West Regional. Also, Tennessee finished in the top five in an incredible nine of 11 tournaments, including two runner-up showings which pushed the orange-clad golfers to a final head-to-head record of 125-29-5. The 125 victories is the second-highest single-season total in the history of the program and allowed Pavon to become the all-time winningest golf coach at Tennessee. Additionally, Retamoza was named the Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Year while Shepley secured a spot on the all-SEC second team. With Johansson, Retamoza and Turner all returning next year, the Lady Vols look primed for another successful season in 2005-06.
|Lady Vol Scores|