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UCLA women’s golf finishes 4th at Blessings Collegiate Invitational

Sophomore Zoe Antoinette Campos walks along the green with her putter. Campos led the Bruins at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational, tying for fifth overall with a 4-over 220. (Courtesy of Vinny Lavalsiti/UCLA Athletics)

WOMEN'S GOLF

Blessings Collegiate Invitational

Fourth place (+29, 893)

By Sabrina Baker

Oct. 7, 2022 12:00 a.m.

After ending round one in eighth place, the Bruins bounced back to finish in fourth.

No. 15 UCLA women’s golf competed in the Blessings Collegiate Invitational at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas from Monday to Wednesday, ending the tournament at 29-over 893 with four top-20 finishers. The Bruins finished 14 strokes behind the winner, No. 4 Mississippi State, and two strokes ahead of fifth-place No. 3 Texas A&M.

In order to jump up four positions on the leaderboard, coach Carrie Forsyth said the team adjusted between the first round and the rest of the tournament.

“After we had our really bad round, I think the girls had a great attitude,” Forsyth said. “We came back believing that … we messed that up, but we can still do well in this tournament. If we can just get it together and focus, and they did that.”

Unlike the typical collegiate tournament where players from different schools are paired off with one another and play together, the invitational had each team play as a fivesome for all three days. The entire team teed off at the same time each day, allowing players to watch and cheer on their teammates.

Redshirt junior Ty Akabane, who finished the tournament 11-over 227 for a tie in 18th place, said the format was a positive experience for the team.

“Golf is a very individual sport, and we are separate from all our teammates in a normal format,” Akabane said. “It’s a really unique opportunity to have the ability to cheer each other on in real time while we are all playing together.”

The blue and gold posted its best team score during the second round shooting 1-under 287 – the only team to post an under-par score on day two. Akabane was the leading scorer of the day for the Bruins, shooting 4-under 68 while rising 27 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 17th place heading into round three.

Akabane’s second-round performance featured eight birdies, which she attributed to being in a good flow and committing to her shots.

“The course (doesn’t allow for) errant shots,” Akabane said. “If you’re not committed, you are probably not going to hit a good shot because ball striking is really important on this course.”

The Bruins’ overall leading scorer was sophomore Zoe Antoinette Campos, who jumped 12 positions on the final day to finish in a tie for fifth place with a score of 4-over 220. Her best performance occurred during round three where she posted a 2-under 70.

The invitational was Campos’ first tournament of the season, as she was out with a shoulder injury for the team’s first tournament. Although her swing felt off at times, Campos said she was grateful to be back out on the course.

“Taking a month and a half off was really helpful,” Campos said. “Coming into this tournament, I was still a bit cautious of my shoulder, but it is better– I was really thankful to be out there playing again.”

UCLA faced six ranked teams – headlined by No. 3 Texas A&M – half of which it finished above on the leaderboard. Forsyth said these are the types of teams the Bruins want to play tournaments against.

“That’s how we really know where you measure up,” Forsyth said. “If we hadn’t played ridiculously bad in the first round, we would have either won this tournament or been really close to winning this tournament, and so I take a lot of positives away from that.”

UCLA will return to play Oct. 24 at the East Lake Golf Club.

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Sabrina Baker | Sports contributor
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
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