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UCLA women’s golf takes 3rd in East Lake Cup with rare match play opportunity

Redshirt sophomore Alessia Nobilio crouches down on the green as she prepares for a putt.(Courtesy of Alicia Um Holmes/UCLA Athletics)

By Austin Tran

Oct. 28, 2022 3:45 p.m.

The Bruins got a taste of the NCAA championships format early in the season.

UCLA women’s golf finished in third place out of four teams at the East Lake Cup in Atlanta, taking down No. 2 seed Oregon in a consolation round. The tournament had two rounds of single-elimination match play following a round of stroke play, much like the NCAA tournament.

Coach Carrie Forsyth said the team appreciates the opportunity to play in match play because of the limited number of match play events in the season.

“It’s just a great experience to be able to have an opportunity to play match play,” Forsyth said. “We don’t play it all year, and this was a really nice little test run. It was fantastic. I think you learn a lot when you play match play. Once you get there, anybody can win. Doesn’t matter what the rank, doesn’t matter what your season looked like.”

UCLA earned the fourth seed after stroke play with a team score of 18-over 306. Sophomore Zoe Antoinette Campos led the team with an even 72 round, good for a tie for second. Redshirt sophomore Alessia Nobilio carded a 3-over 75, good for 14th.

Following Nobilio and Campos were sophomore Caroline Canales and senior Emilie Paltrinieri. Canales finished with a round of 6-over 78, while Paltrinieri finished with a 9-over 81. Senior Annabel Wilson rounded out the team with a total of 10-over 82.

In the match play round, the Bruins’ first opponent was No. 1 seed Texas A&M. The winner was set to face the victor of No. 2 seed Oregon and No. 3 seed Auburn in the finals, which was eventual champion Auburn.

UCLA found itself tied with Texas A&M at 2-2, with the last match – Paltrinieri vs. A&M’s Hailee Cooper – sitting at all-square going into the final hole. However, Cooper holed out for eagle from off the green to best Paltrinieri, sending the Aggies to the finals.

“We gave them (Texas A&M) a good run for their money. We almost won the match. We lost on the very last hole,” Forsyth said. “We had a few players who played really well and a few who didn’t play very well. We’ve got some work to do, but we’re looking pretty good.”

In the consolation match against the Ducks, the Bruins found themselves leading 2-1-1 with the final match – Campos vs. Oregon’s Ching-Tzu Chen – heading into the final hole. Chen was 1-up on Campos, but the UCLA sophomore made a birdie putt to win the hole and tie the match. The half-point was good enough for UCLA to best Oregon and claim third overall.

“Obviously, I knew I had to make that. I was feeling the pressure of it, and I guess I was just thriving in that moment,” Campos said. “As soon as I hit the putt, I already knew it was going in. I was just really glad I did that for the team.”

Canales was the only Bruin who won both her matches at the East Lake Cup. She attributed her success in match play to the summer tournaments she played in and her breathing exercises down the stretch.

“I love match play. I feel like it suits my game really well because I don’t feel like I’m super erratic off the tee,” Canales said. “I’ve gotten better at embracing the pressure moments.”

She found herself tied with three holes to go against Texas A&M’s Adela Cernousek but won the next two holes to close out the match and earn a 2 and 1 victory. Subsequently, she was trailing with two holes to play against Oregon’s Brittany Shin but won the last two for a 1-up victory.

UCLA is looking ahead to its next showing at the Nanea Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii.

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Austin Tran | Sports reporter
Tran is currently a Sports reporter on the men's and women's golf beats.
Tran is currently a Sports reporter on the men's and women's golf beats.
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