Oct. 10, 2004
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- University of Tennessee junior Violeta Retamoza won the 2004 Mercedes-Benz Women's Collegiate Championships Sunday afternoon on the strength of a tournament-record score of 211. The Aguacalientes, Mexico native fired an even-par 71 in the final round to hold off Tulane's Alison Walshe by one stroke at Cherokee Country Club. The victory is the third of Retamoza's career and marked the first time that a Lady Vol had ever won the event. Her efforts helped lead a charge that propelled the No. 15/21-ranked Big Orange to a tie for second place in the event with Tulane. The showing matches the program's best finish in the event, as UT also took home second place in 2000.
"I'm super happy, and it's a great feeling," Retamoza said. "It's great to be at home and win. It's a great thing to know that the program is getting better. If there
are records to break, we will go for them."
No. 8 Ohio State successfully defended its 2003 crown in the Mercedes-Benz, though it was not easy. The Buckeyes held off the final-day charge of Tennessee and Tulane, winning the event by seven strokes. Despite the challenging final round, Ohio State set a tournament record with a three-day total of 874, in bringing home the team title.
"It's definitely an honor," Ohio State Head Coach Therese Hession said. "We knew we were going to have to play really well to have a chance to win. I'm really proud my team for hanging in there. We're a younger squad this year. To get that experience while being able to hang on and win means a lot."
The Big Orange had outstanding performances on the day from several other players to help lead the charge. Jessica Shepley (Oakville, Ontario) and Teesha Ash (Chattanooga, Tenn.) both turned in rounds of one-under par 70, while freshman Marci Turner (Tompkinsville, Ky.) matched Retamoza's round of 71. They finished with three day totals of 222, 228 and 222 respectively.
"Today was great, and I knew that they had it in them," Lady Vol Head Coach Judi Pavon said. "They were playing so well and showed that the first day was really just a fluke. I'm just really proud of them for hanging in there and really showing everybody what they are capable of. It was phenomonal to see Violeta win. That was her goal coming in, and we feel great that she came out on top."
The final day of golf witnessed the Lady Vols attack the record books in several areas. Retamoza's three-day total of 211 matched her career best and tied as the second-lowest score in program history. Tennessee's team total of 282 matches the standard for the lowest round in UT history. Ash's round of 70 is the best in her career, while Turner's consistent play propelled the Kentucky native to her first-ever top-10 finish. Sophomore Holly Cantwell (Morristown, Tenn.) also earned her first-career top-10 placing on the strength of a personal-best score of 220.
Shepley overcame a first-day 81 in the event to earn her 11th-career top-10 finish, shooting one-under par the final 36 holes of the event. Junior Golda Johansson (Lund, Sweden) shot her second-consecutive 75 in the event and finished in a tie for 43rd place with a final score of . Three other UT individuals also competed in the event. Sarah-Bonner Shanks (Kingsport, Tenn.) and Christie Reed (Coral Sping, Fla) both shot 79 on the day while Jennifer Davis (Seymour, Tenn.) finished the afternoon with an 86. The trio finished with three-day totals of 234, 244 and 254 respectively.
The Lady Vols return to action Oct. 29-31 when they travel to Wilmington, N.C. for the Landfall Tradition.