The No. 1 UCLA women’s golf team spent the weekend in Franklin, Tenn., at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview hosted by Vanderbilt, and returned home with their first title of the 2011 season.
The tournament featured serious competition for the Bruins, as the top 10 preseason teams were all in attendance to compete with the defending champs.
The elite competition did little to faze the Bruins, and their experience on the course served them well.
The tournament was held at the Legends North Course, familiar stomping grounds for the Bruins.
The team has competed at the course at least once a year for the last seven years, and has now finished first at the event three out of the last five years.
UCLA was represented by juniors Tiffany Lua and Lee Lopez, sophomore Ani Gulugian, and freshmen Erynne Lee and Kyle Roig. The athletes that traveled had busy summers, competing in tournaments around the country. Lua reached the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Publinks and the third round of the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The team was tied for third with Alabama and Vanderbilt after the first day of play.
Top scorers on the first day of competition were Lee and Lua, who both posted impressive first rounds of 73 ( 1) that put them in a tie for ninth place individually. Lopez scored a 74 ( 2) and was tied for 16th.
No. 2 Trojans started strong with a first round score of 292 ( 4) that put them in first place but couldn’t keep it up for the rest of the tournament.
The Trojans couldn’t finish what they started, and finished the tournament at 24 and in eighth place.
Motivated by seeing their rivals in the lead, the Bruins clawed their way out of the tie to reach the top of the scoreboard after the second round.
UCLA was led by strong play from Lua and Gulugian, both of who shot three under-par 69s.
Following closely behind the Bruins were Alabama at nine over par, North Carolina at 12 over par and Arizona State at 13 over par.
The Bruins had a six-shot lead going into the final day of the tournament and made sure not to let it slip away.
UCLA played well and held on throughout the round to secure its first title of the season, and its 41st under head coach Carrie Forsyth.
In second place behind UCLA was Alabama, with Arizona State and Virginia tied for third.
Lua tied for fifth place individually at 215 (-1) and Lee finished eighth overall at 218 ( 2).
Seniors Stephanie Kono and Brianna Do did not compete in the tournament, as both are playing in the LPGA Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament in Florida, which begins today.
The team will get a couple weeks of rest before competing again at the Stanford/Pepsi Invitational in Palo Alto.
Compiled by Eric Peck, Bruin sports senior staff.