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Lopez, Razorbacks in top five

Athletic Communications
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AUSTIN, Texas – University of Arkansas freshman Gabriela Lopez paced the 19th-ranked Razorback women’s golf team to a third-place finish at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas, Tuesday.

The Razorbacks were the picture of consistency shooting 288-288-288 for 864.  They finished just behind No. 4 Florida and No. 10 and defending national champion Alabama who tied for the win with 863.

“We made great strides towards our end result,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said.  “We played so solid all week and we haven’t even played our best golf yet, that’s what’s so exciting.  I think we showed that we can complete with anyone.

“It’s tough to lose by one but that makes us more hungry,” she continued.  “This week we were able to put together a complete group effort.  This team is so special and talented and I’m really looking forward to working and getting ready for February.”

Lopez played to a fifth-place finish, four strokes off the lead, with a three-day 212 on the par 72, 6344 yard University of Texas Golf Course.  Lopez fired rounds of 72-69-71 and was as low as three-under in her final round.

“Gaby has all of the tools to be a great player,” Estes-Taylor said.  “I love her style of play, she is super aggressive.  Gaby can play with the best players in college golf and she showed that this week.  Regina (Plasencia) is also really fun to watch.  She is very tactical in how she attacks the golf course. They are both very mature as freshmen and came to the program prepared and ready to go.”

Plasencia opened with two par or better rounds shooting 72-71-76 for a 219 and a tie for 15th overall.

Junior two-time All-American Emily Tubert was solid all week as well finishing tied for 11th.  The Burbank, Calif., native posted a 217 with rounds of 71-74-72.

Senior Victoria Vela and junior Emma Lavy tied for 21st overall rounding out the Razorback scores.  Vela shot 73-74-74=221 while Lavy carded 73-77-71=221.

“Our veterans have done a great job of setting the example and standard for this year’s team,” Estes-Taylor said.  “They work hard and know what it takes to be successful at this level and have been great players and mentors for the whole team.”

Florida and Alabama finished tied at 863 but the Gators took home the trophy using a fifth person final round low score to break the tie.  Arkansas finished third followed by No. 8 Arizona State with 869 and Tulsa with 883 to round out the top five.

The rest of the field included host and No. 39 Texas with 890, No. 28 Denver with 892, No. 40 UCLA with 894, No. 30 Pepperdine with 897, No. 36 UNLV with 898, Kent State with 901, No. 23 Auburn with 903, TCU with 907, New Mexico with 916 and Illinois with 927.

The event is the final of the fall for the Razorbacks.  They continue practice until resuming play Feb. 12-14, at the Puerto Rico Golf Classic.



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