RIO MAR, Puerto Rico – The eighth-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team battled tough conditions but hung on for the win at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico, Tuesday.
“I’m just really proud of this group,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. “I know that I say that a lot but this is just a really special group of young ladies. We have a great time and they truly work very hard and determined every time they come to the gym and I’m happy that they can reap the benefits of their commitment of winning golf tournaments for the University of Arkansas. We train really hard for these moments and winning is hard in golf. To lead wire-to-wire just shows this team has great depth and determined. I’m excited that we could come to Puerto Rico and start the spring off with a win. It shows we are working in the right direction. It is a long season but it is good to get a victory to build some confidence as we continue on this journey.”
Strong gusty winds forced scores higher, but Arkansas posted a 283, the second-best round of the day, to finish with 867 and a 14-stroke lead. Sophomores Gabriela Lopez and Regina Plasencia both carded one-over 73s in the final round.
Lopez was Arkansas’ top finisher in third place. The Mexico City, Mexico, native shot 73-68-73=214 over the three-day event. Lopez opened play Tuesday with a birdie on her first hole but counted a double and a bogey on seven and eight turning at plus-two.
She put together three consecutive pars followed by a birdie on the 13th moving to one-over. She gave that stroke back on the 17th hole but finished strong with a birdie on 18.
Seniors Emily Tubert and Emma Lavy tied for fourth overall shooting 216. Tubert, a Burbank, Calif., native, posted rounds of 68-73-75 and opened the final round with nine consecutive par holes on the River Course.
Lavy, a Fayetteville, Ark., native started her day with a double but birdied the next hole before putting together a string of 12 consecutive par holes. She also finished with a birdie on the 18th hole, a hole she birdied in all three rounds.
Plasencia finished tied for 30th overall with a 226 with rounds of 77-76-73. She tied teammate redshirt freshman Kayli Quinton who competed as an individual. Quniton posted rounds of 78-73-75=226. Freshman Summar Roachell rounded out the Arkansas players. Roachell tied for 41st overall with a 228 with rounds of 74-74-80.
“It was a total group effort today,” Estes-Taylor said. “Regina came back and played well today and Emma got off to a rough start and really held it together. Gaby did as well. It was windy and the hold locations were difficult. Kayli – I love that she had an opportunity to tee it up and compete. She has made great progress and strides and be open to the changes we have made and I was excited that she could see some of the benefits of what we are doing.”
The Razorbacks return to action March 7-9, at the Darius Rucker Intercollege in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
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