Feb. 13, 2013
Sophomore All-American Erynne Lee won the individual title and UCLA captured the team trophy Wednesday in the 18th Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes Golf Club.
Thirty-seventh ranked UCLA, bolstered by the return of senior All-American Tiffany Lua, remained steady on the closing holes and beat top-ranked USC by nine shots. The teams swapped places on the leaderboard throughout the first nine, but the determined Bruins outplayed the Trojans by seven shots on the last nine holes.
The Bruins finished with a 54-hole score of 870 (+18) after posting a final round score of 291 (+7). USC, the 36-hole leader, finished at 879 (+27) after recording a score of 301 (+17). Fourth-ranked Duke captured third place at 881 (+29), followed by Texas at 890 (+38) and No. 3 Florida at 892 (+40).
Lee, tied with Oklahoma State's Kelsey Vines at one-over par on the finishing holes, birdied her 18th hole (No. 1 on the course) to secure the overall lead. On Wednesday, she played her inward nine in two-under par, carded a final round score of 69 (-2), picked up her second collegiate victory and celebrated her 20th birthday. She finished with an even par score of 213, one shot ahead of the fourth-ranked Vines.
"I didn't know I was tied for the lead," said Lee, who was ranked ninth nationally entering the tournament. "When I made the putt, coach (Forsyth) and (assistant coach) Alicia (Um Holmes) came running up to congratulate me.
Lee recounted the final hole: "I hit a driver to the right side of the fairway and had about 120 yards uphill to the pin. I hit a 9-iron and had a five-foot slider (for birdie). I just wanted to end the round on a good note."
Lua, sidelined last Fall with a wrist injury, and senior All-American Lee Lopez tied for fifth place at 218 (+5). Both golfers also played their final nine holes in even par. On Wednesday, Lopez posted a 72 (+1) and Lua finished with a 74 (+3).
Freshman Louise Ridderstrom tied for 15th place at 222 (+9) after carding a score of 76 (+5) in the final round and junior Ani Gulugian tied for 25th at 225 (+12). Freshman Jacquie LeMarr, playing as an individual, tied for 71st.
The team title was the 48th for Hall of Fame Coach Carrie Forsyth, and first of the season for the Bruins. Under Forsyth's leadership, UCLA has won the Regional Challenge four times, including twice in a row. Two UCLA players - Lee and Charlotte Mayorkas (2004) - have won the individual title.
"We were pretty motivated this week," said Forsyth. "We know the truth about our Fall (performance) and we know we're better than our ranking. It was great to see the girls go out and win and play so well. I'm very proud of them."
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