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Strong freshmen performances guide women’s golf to 4th place in South Carolina

Freshman Emilie Paltrinieri tied for 10th place in No. 12 UCLA women’s golf’s appearance at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. She, along with freshman Emma Spitz, were the Bruins’ best finishers on the weekend.

By Ellie Nowakowski

March 9, 2020 5:24 p.m.

The Bruins finished near the top of the leaderboard despite dropping two spots in the third round.

No. 12 UCLA women’s golf finished fourth in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate on Sunday at the Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Three freshmen led the Bruin scorecard.

Freshmen Emilie Paltrinieri and Emma Spitz finished tied for 10th place, and freshman Annabel Wilson tied for 29th.

“(Paltrinieri and Spitz) are both doing a great job,” Forsyth said. “They’re freshmen. They’re finishing top 10s every time we tee it up. Can’t ask for much more than that as a coach.”

At the end of day one, UCLA was in second place after the Bruins shot an 8-over 292, taking five more strokes to complete their rounds than first place No. 7 Wake Forest. Spitz and Paltrinieri both shot even-par 71s, finishing the day tied for third.

This was all despite windy conditions that day and such poor conditions the previous day that the Bruins weren’t able to take a practice round before the tournament, according to coach Carrie Forsyth.

“Three of the girls hadn’t seen the golf course, (but) we had our two seniors that did (in years past),” Forsyth said. “Part of the beauty of playing golf like that and not having a practice round (is) you don’t see the trouble because you haven’t seen it before. You can just be really focused on your lines, and they did a really good job with that.”

The second day of play was not much different, as UCLA and Wake Forest both shot 4-over 288s, leaving the Bruins ahead of the Demon Deacons by five shots.

Spitz and Paltrinieri matched each other again, both shooting 1-over 72s, and, after starting the day tied for 33rd, Wilson shot a 2-under 69, finishing the day tied for seventh.

“The first two rounds the golf was extremely difficult and the wind was blowing really hard, and they handled it fantastically,” Forsyth said. “They were hitting quality shots (and) making some putts.”

In the third round, the freshmen Bruins in the lineup shot their worst rounds of the tournament. Spitz and Paltrinieri matched each other yet again, both shooting 6-over 77s, while Wilson shot an 8-over 79.

“Neither (Paltrinieri or Spitz) putted very well in the final round,” Forsyth said. “(Spitz) in particular, she got a lot of three-putts. (Paltrinieri has) kind of been off and on with the ball striking during the week,”

In past tournaments, Spitz has credited her third-round struggles to problems with her mental game, but she said that was not the issue in last weekend’s tournament.

Instead, Spitz said it was the course – on which one bad shot can derail an entire hole – that made the third round difficult for her.

“I knew what I had to do – not put the pressure on myself and not think about the scoring, and I really was doing it,” Spitz said. “It was just one of those days where nothing went my way.”

Aside from the freshmen, senior Clare Legaspi shot a 13-over 226 to tie for 43rd, and senior Mariel Galdiano shot a 14-over 227 to tie for 46th.

The final round saw UCLA to a fourth-place finish, 30 shots behind first-place Wake Forest. However, the Bruins were only one and four strokes worse than the third- and second-place finisher, respectively.

UCLA will play again in two weeks at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Lahaina, Hawaii.

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Ellie Nowakowski | Sports contributor
Nowakowski is currently a Sports contributor on the men's and women's golf beats.
Nowakowski is currently a Sports contributor on the men's and women's golf beats.
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