Santa Clara women's golf team posted the best team round of the season and finished the two-day Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational in 10th place with a total team score of 923. The tournament was played on March 4-5 at the Almaden Golf & Country Club in San Jose.
Led by senior Balbina Guajardo (Monterrey), who broke par with a 1-under 71, and freshman Ashley Noda (Roseville, Calif.), with a 2-over 74, the Broncos finished the first round tied for fourth after breaking 300 for the first time this season by shooting 298.
"I was so impressed (and proud) with the team's performance in round 1. They are really starting to come together and each aspect of their game is improving," said Bronco head coach Krystal Kelly. "It was a huge accomplishment for us to finally break 300. We've been so close the last two years, but haven't been able to close out the round. Monday, they definitely closed out that round."
Stanford's Mariah Stackhouse took individual honors with a 4-under 212 and the Cardinal led from start to finish to claim the team title with a three-round score of 878.
Guajardo was the highest Santa Clara finisher in the tournament placing in a 14th place tie with a 9-over 225. Junior Taylor Camany (Salinas, Calif.) tied for 31st with a 15-over 231 and freshman Monique Riley (Pleasanton, Calif.) tied for 39th with a 17-over 233.
"Their course management was spot on," said Kelly. "They hit numerous fairways and greens. We were in 4th after the first round, beating some top-ranked teams. Overall we finished 10th, which says a lot. We could have managed to shave off a few shots for rounds two and three, but I think overall it was a great finish."
The Broncos placed above No. 69 Kansas State, No. 98 Idaho, No. 120 Colorado State and No. 138 USF to jump 12 spots in this week's rankings, "a good number of spots to move this late in the season," according to Kelly. SCU is ranked at No. 123 according to Golfweek and No. 137 on golfstat.com.
Faced with high winds and challenging hole locations in the final round, Guajardo and Noda were able to navigate the course for a 5-over 77. The final 18 holes saw 34 players shoot 80 or higher compared to just 17 in the first round.
"Each week the team is improving, and as a coach that's all I can ask for," Kelly stated. "We have a few weeks off to fine tune before University of Wyoming's tournament and the WCC Championship. I have a feeling good things are to come for this squad. Everyone has really stepped up in the last four weeks, and the results are starting to show!"
The final tournament before the West Coast Conference Championship takes place on April 8-10 when the Santa Clara women's golf team will compete in the University of Wyoming Cowgirl Classic at the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz.
Dates: Monday through Wednesday, April 8-10, 2013
Site: Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz.
Host: University of Wyoming
Details: All three days will begin with a 6:30 a.m. local time start. Groups will tee off holes one and 10 in nine minute intervals and play 18 holes each day.
Tournament Field (19 teams): Wyoming, Boise State, BYU, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State, New Mexico State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, Santa Clara, Seattle, Southern Utah, Utah Valley, UTEP, Weber State and Xavier
Course: Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, Ariz.
Yardage/Par: 6,184 yards/Par 72
Phone Number: (480) 917-6660
Fax: (480) 786-0401
Wyoming Golf Media Contact: Amil Anderson (will be on site at tournament - email@example.com)