SAN JOSE, Calif. – Santa Clara women's golf pulled away from Cal State Northridge down the stretch to win its third straight team title, knocking off the Matadors by two shots to repeat as titlists at the Colby Invitational.
The Broncos, who won three straight tournaments for the first time in program history, surrendered their six-shot lead heading into final round play and trailed at one point before making a comeback over the final few holes. Santa Clara scored a final round 310 for a tournament total of 916, besting the Matadors, who carded a 306 today and 918 total, by two shots in the seven-team field.
"Very, very close. It came down to the final hole," head coach Krystal Kelly said. "That's kind of how it's been our entire fall season. I think there was a little bit more pressure having won the last two tournaments and obviously playing here at home. But I think overall they handled it really well.
"I told them today 'whatever happens happens' just to alleviate some of the pressure because I could see it in their swings a little bit. I know I felt it myself, but they handled it great. The more we put ourselves in that position, the better we'll be at it," Kelly continued.
Entering final round play with a four-shot lead, junior Kristin Le fell ill but still battled to finish off the round. She scored an 82 on Tuesday, falling into a second-place tie.
"Kristin wasn't feeling her best today," Kelly explained. "I was really proud of her for sticking through it because she easily could've said 'hey coach I'm not feeling well today and I'm not going to play'. But it shows what tremendous heart she has."
Cal State Northridge's Chomchana Phuchanbanchob was the beneficiary, carding a final round 76 to win the event by two shots.
Junior Isabella Salant recorded the lowest score of the tournament with her second round 2-under 70 and moved into a tie for fifth at 11-over 227.
Playing in her final Colby Invitational, senior Annie Freman carded a final round 76 to finish tied for seventh at 14-over 230.
"It was obviously a pretty emotional tournament for both of us," Kelly said of Freman's final home event. "Annie's helped put us back in the spotlight and I couldn't be more proud of her and what she's accomplished."
Competing as an individual, freshman Isabella Seeburger matched the Broncos low round of the day with a 3-over 75 and tied for seventh along with Freman at 230.
In an unprecedented run of success, the Broncos concluded the fall season with three consecutive team titles, something even Kelly wasn't prepared for.
"My team blew me away," Kelly said. "I really didn't know what to expect coming into this season. Last year we graduated three starters, so you never quite know what your team's going to do. Scoring-wise they far exceeded my expectations."
The Broncos will take some time off before teeing up the spring season in mid-February in the Battle at the Rock.
Santa Clara Final Individual Results
T2. Kristin Le 72-71-82 = 225 (+9)
T5. Isabella Salant 82-70-75 = 227 (+11)
T7. Annie Freman 76-78-76 = 230 (+14)
T15. Kyleigh Moreno 79-78-79 = 236 (+20)
T32. Chloe Wong 89-83-80 = 252 (+36)
Competing as an individual
T7. Isabella Seeburger 76-79-75 = 230 (+14)
T29. Keilyn Ing 85-84-80 = 249 (+33)
- Cynthia Navis 83-81 WD