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MANHATTAN, Kan. – University of Arkansas junior Kelli Shean won her first collegiate women’s golf tournament leading the Razorbacks to a second-place team finish at the Marilyn Smith/Sunflower Invitational in Manahattan, Kan., Tuesday.
Shean, a Cape Town, South Africa native, led wire-to-wire firing a final round career-low 67 for the win. She finished seven-under on the par 72, 6,287-yard course at Colbert Hills, counting a 209 (74-68-67).
The day was even more special for Shean whose mother was celebrating a birthday and whose brother welcomed the birth of a child today.
"It was really a great day for Kelli," laughed Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor. "I can’t say enough about how she played. This tournament was a window into what she’s capable of and to have her win come on this day will be something she always remembers."
Teammate senior Kristin Ingram was also in the hunt late finishing tied for fourth overall with a 229. Ingram wrapped up play with back-to-back 75s (79-75-75).
"Kristin played great golf in the last two rounds," said Estes-Taylor. "She and Alex (Schulte) were important for us all weekend."
Senior Alex Schulte also posted a top-10 finish with a 16-over 232 with rounds of 78-77-77. Sophomore Katy Nugent rounded out Arkansas’ scores. Nugent tied for a career-best 14th place overall with a 234 (77-85-72). Corinna Rees, playing as an individual, recorded her best collegiate finish tying for seventh with a 231 (79-77-75).
Arkansas finished second overall improving with a final round 291 for 904 (308-305-291) despite playing without their fifth player in the lineup, Tiffany Phelps. Phelps withdrew with an illness in the first round.
Tulsa won the event also leading from the first hole. The Golden Hurricane edged Arkansas by three strokes winning with a 901 (309-302-390). Host Kansas State was 43 strokes back of the Razorbacks with 947 with Illinois State in fourth with 948. Wichita State rounded out the top five with a 952.
"We made some good improvements this week," said Estes-Taylor. "We played good, solid golf from top to bottom and I’m pleased with the effort. We’re coming home to fine-tune a few things and re-qualify but I’m excited about this team and what we can do this year."
The Razorbacks return to their home course for a couple weeks of practice and a qualifying round before traveling to the Mercedes Benz Collegiate Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., Oct. 16-18. It is the third of four fall events for the women’s team.