It looked like Pac-10 rival Arizona State had the tournament all but won heading into the back nine of the PING/ASU Invitational on Sunday. But a late surge from the UCLA women’s golf team, led by sophomore Stephanie Kono, stopped the Sun Devils and the Bruins won for the second time in back-to-back competitions.

While the back nine on Sunday at Augusta National provided the world with thrilling drama, the back nine at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. proved to be just as dramatic.

The Bruins pounced on every opportunity and as a team shot three under par on the final nine holes of play. This proved to be pivotal; UCLA picked up six total strokes on ASU as the Sun Devils stumbled to the finish line shooting three over par on the back nine.

The Bruins earned the win after opening the first round, trailing by 12 strokes to a first-place Arizona State team. A solid second round performance put the Bruins into a tie for third and set the stage for a final day run at the title.

Although they were still trailing by 12 strokes heading into Sunday, the Bruins never let up. It came down to the last putt on the 18th green, when Kono rolled in a 50-foot birdie putt to edge out ASU by one stroke and shoot 856 (-8) to better the Sun Devil’s 857 (-7).

The final putt holed out by Kono also gave her a one-stroke advantage over USC’s No. 1 player, Jennifer Song, and earned her first-place individual honors.

Kono’s brilliant weekend performance was highlighted by a final round of 66 (-6) that included seven birdies.

“(Kono) was spectacular,” said coach Carrie Forsyth. “She putted really well. It was so much fun to watch her go out there and not worry about winning and focus on her game.”

Backing up Kono with her own final round heroics, freshman Tiffany Lua carded a 68 (-4) on Sunday. She was in position to post the low round of the day heading into the 18th hole, but double bogeyed and settled for the 68 and a tie for 17th place as an individual.

“Tiffany played phenomenal. To be six under and going into the final hole as a freshman is great,” Forsyth said.

All-American senior Sydnee Michaels shot a total score of 217 (+1) for the tournament and finished in a tie for 22nd place.

Sophomore Brianna Do finished right behind Michaels with a score of 218 (+2), tied for 24th.

Junior Glory Yang rounded out the Bruin lineup and tied for 65th, shooting a three day total of 231 (+15).

The back-to-back wins capped off with the solid come-from-behind victory on Sunday serve as an important mark where the Bruins can measure their strengths and weaknesses.

Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Bruins now know that they can legitimately compete with anyone.

“To win here and come from so far behind is really big for our confidence,” Forsyth said. “We know we can beat them (ASU) and we can even do it on their home course”.