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FAYETTEVILLE – The sixth-ranked University of Arkansas women’s golf team shaved six strokes off its second round total moving up to 12th place on the final day of the UCF Invitational at RedTail Golf Club in Sonnoma, Fla., Tuesday.
Arkansas posted its best round of the tournament as everyone improved on their previous scores with a final day 292 finishing at plus-20 with an 884 (294-298-292) for the week.
“Today was much, much better,” said Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. “I think if we could have finished a little stronger we could have moved up even more on the leaderboard. We still have some things to work on and we have some work to do before we head out for spring break. We’ll come home and get after it in practice and see what we can do before going to Texas.”
Senior Stacy Lewis paced Arkansas with an even par 72 in the final round and finished tied for 23rd overall with a 218 (70-76-72) against one of the toughest fields Arkansas will see all year. Freshman Kelli Shean counted 74 in the last round and tied for 27th overall at 219 (71-74-74) while junior Lucy Nunn had a strong final two rounds and finished with a 221 (76-72-73) to tie for 36th. Shean’s 219 is her best collegiate round while Nunn’s numbers tie her second-best collegiate score.
Sophomore Kristin Ingram tied for 63rd overall with a 226 (77-76-73) after shooting her best round of the tournament Tuesday with a 73. Ingram has been consistent with two fall tournaments in which she also shot 226. Senior Whitney Sylvan rounded out the Arkansas scores with a last day 76 for a 232 (78-78-76) to tie for 80th in the field. Sylvan’s 232 ties the best round of her career.
To say the field was tough is an understatement. Top-ranked Duke won the event shooting a 13-under 851 for the three-day tournament. Duke carded rounds of 282-282-287 for the win. Eighth-ranked Purdue (289-283-288) was second with an 860 followed by No. 2 UCLA (286-291-286) with an 863. Fifth-ranked Florida (292-283-290) finished third overall with an 865 as third-ranked Southern California (281-284-293) and No. 10 Georgia (289-292-292) rounded out the top five with an 868 and 872, respectively.
The rest of the field included No. 17 Alabama (872), No. 9 Auburn (876), No. 26 LSU (878), No. 18 Pepperdine (880) and No. 13 Oklahoma State (881) all ahead of Arkansas.
Duke sophomore Alison Whitaker earned medalist honors posting an eight-under 208 (65-71-72) picking up the first tournament title of her career. Her first round 65 was a course record.
The Lady Razorbacks return home briefly before beginning spring “break”. Arkansas first travels to the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Classic in Austin, Texas, March 17-19, followed by the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic in Athens, Ga., March 28-30.
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