In its first competition of the winter season, UCLA women’s golf came away with the victory, taking first place in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge.
Playing close to home in Palos Verdes, Calif., the Bruins took first place with a score of 870 (+18).
Senior Tiffany Lua, who missed all of the fall with a wrist injury, was back for this week’s tournament. She contributed a 218 (+5) to the team’s first-place finish.
Lua tied with a fellow Bruin, redshirt senior Lee Lopez.
UCLA not only took first place as a team, but also individually. Sophomore Erynne Lee hit an even score over the course of three days, winning the challenge. Lee is the No. 8 collegiate golfer in the country and the only member of the UCLA team in the nation’s top 50.
Lee’s finish was close, as she went into the final hole in a tie with senior Kelsey Vines of Oklahoma State. However, a key birdie on the 18th hole pushed her into the lead.
UCLA brought six players to compete. Five – Lee, Lua, Lopez, freshman Louise Ridderstrom and junior Ani Gulugian competed for the team score, while freshman Jacquie LeMarr competed individually.
Ridderstrom finished in a tie for 15th, with a 222 (+9). Gulugian took 25th, at a score of 225 (+12). LeMarr rounded out the group at a final score of 242 (+29).
The Bruins finished the fall season with three eighth-place finishes and one ninth-place finish, which ended up dropping them from their No. 1 preseason ranking to No. 38 to start out the winter season.
Lua, a powerful player for the team over her first three seasons with UCLA, was missing for the fall, a significant gap in the Bruins’ lineup.
However, Lua’s contributions, along with the other strong scores, pushed UCLA to their tournament win, which was the 48th title in coach Carrie Forsyth’s career.
The Bruins have also won the Northrop Grumman Challenge four times, and have taken the individual title two times with Lee’s victory.
The second- and third-place winners were USC and Duke, who entered the tournament at third and fourth in the rankings, respectively.
USC also had the tournament’s third-place individual, freshman Kyung Kim, the No. 7 college golfer.
Duke’s highest finisher was junior Alejandra Cangrejo. Cangrejo started the final day of competition in first place, but dropped right as Lee, who started the day in a fifth-place tie with Lua, rose through the standings.
Several UCLA players had strong final days that pushed them to the win. Just as Lee and Lua started out the third round in fifth, Lopez was in 10th before she rose to a fifth-place tie.
UCLA resumes competition in exactly 10 days, heading to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate.
Compiled by Emma Coghlan, Bruin Sports senior staff.