Nobody had a chance to catch the Bruins.
No. 1 UCLA women’s golf won the Golfweek Conference Challenge by 33 strokes after posting a 32-under-832 on the week.
The Bruins’ 17-under third round was a UCLA record for lowest single-round score in relation to par, and they also broke the record they set last week for lowest 54-hole score in school history.
Instead of top performers sophomore Patty Tavatanakit and senior Lilia Vu topping the leaderboards, junior Mariel Galdiano led the charge for the Bruins. She notched her first career tournament win this week, and her 7-under, 65-stroke performance Wednesday was the best round of her collegiate career.
Galdiano ended the week 13 strokes under par, and improved her score each day.
“Adjusting to the altitude and already knowing what I needed to do on each hole. … I think that’s what the main difference was each day,” Galdiano said.
Galdiano shot a 70 in the first round, 68 in the second round and wrapped up the tournament with a career-low 65.
Tavatanakit finished two strokes behind Galdiano with an 11-under-205, but she said she wasn’t too upset that she didn’t get the win.
“I’m really happy for her, even though I lost by two,” Tavatanakit said.
She entered the final round tied with Galdiano for the lead, but settled for second place after a bogey and double bogey on the front nine.
“I started the day pretty slow,” said Tavatanakit. “My round wasn’t really flowing in the beginning, but I hung in there.”
The sophomore made four straight birdies from the 11th to 14th holes in the third round, and notched an eagle on the 15th. Tavatanakit won the ANNIKA Intercollegiate last week, the fifth win of her career at UCLA.
Vu and junior Clare Legaspi also finished in the top 10. Vu went from tied for 13th after the second round to tied for fifth, while Legaspi finished tied for seventh.
The Bruins went into Wednesday with a 13-stroke cushion over second-place Pepperdine. Galdiano, however, said that she and her teammates never got comfortable atop the leaderboards.
“We didn’t really think much about it,” Galdiano said. “Coach (Carrie Forsyth) was just like, ‘Go out there and do what you need to do.’… Whatever happens, happens, and she’s proud of us.”
UCLA will take a three-week hiatus before returning to competition at the Stanford Intercollegiate from Oct. 19-21 in its second-to-last tournament of the fall season.