Sunday, February 23

Women’s golf swings over USC to become Pac-12 champions

UCLA women's golf won its second straight Pac-12 title Tuesday afternoon after finishing 12 strokes ahead of second place. Freshman Patty Tavatanakit also took home the individual title after beating fellow Bruin junior Lilia Vu in a one-hole playoff. (Courtesy of Alika Jenner)

The Bruins took the lead midway through round one and never looked back.

No. 2 UCLA women’s golf used three rounds under-par to repeat as Pac-12 Tournament champions, beating No. 5 USC by 12 strokes for its first back-to-back conference titles since taking three in a row from 2004 to 2006.

Freshman Patty Tavatanakit also edged her teammate, junior Lilia Vu, in a one-hole playoff Tuesday afternoon to claim the individual title and complete the Bruins’ championship sweep at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle.

UCLA was 4-under-par for the tournament. In a field that included seven teams ranked in the top 20 nationally, the Bruins were the only club to finish under par.

“We played some really good golf,” said coach Carrie Forsyth. “With the way our season ended last year, we feel like we have a lot to prove. To come back and defend the title, … that’s really nice.”

Vu and Tavatanakit were two of only three golfers to shoot under-par in each round of the tournament. Vu trailed her teammate by one shot heading into the final hole, but birdied to tie Tavatanakit at 8-under and force a playoff on hole 18 for the individual title.

Tavatanakit finished the par-5 18th in 5 strokes. Vu took 6.

Tavatanakit’s victory was her third of the year and second in a row. She recorded 19 birdies for the tournament, four more than any other golfer.

Vu finished atop the Pac-12 leaderboard after 54 holes for the second straight year. She shot four birdies and only one bogey on Tuesday’s back nine to make up five strokes on Tavatanakit.

“I’m really proud of both of them for playing so well,” Forsyth said. “They made the difference for us.”

Following UCLA’s top scorers, junior Beth Wu finished tied for 23rd at 6-over par, and sophomores Mariel Galdiano and Clare Legaspi shot 9-over and 13-over, respectively. Wu, Galdiano and Legaspi combined to shoot 5-over in round three, an improvement from 14-over and 9-over in rounds one and two.

“I’m really happy with the result, and I’m really excited for the opportunity to move on into the West Regionals,” Forsyth said. “I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing right now, because (we) played really well this week.”

The Bruins will have two weeks to prepare before the NCAA regionals, which begin May 7.

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