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With Bruin debuts, women’s golf earns 8th place at Mason Rudolph Championship

Members of UCLA women’s golf pose for a photo while competing in the Mason Rudolph Championship. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

WOMEN'S GOLF

Mason Rudolph Championship

8th place (-6, 858)

By Sabrina Baker

Sept. 26, 2023 10:58 a.m.

This post was updated Sept. 17 at 9:16 p.m.

The Bruins settled into their rhythm in the final round of the Mason Rudolph Championship.

UCLA women’s golf traveled to Franklin, Tennessee, to compete in its first tournament of the season, where every player shot under par in the final round. The Bruins finished the tournament in eighth place with a score of 6-under 858 while having entered the final round in 12th place.

The improvement was led by sophomore Meghan Royal, who shot a personal best 5-under 67 in that final round – ten strokes better than her first round. She was the top finisher for the Bruins, tying for 20th place with a score of 3-under 213.

Royal said her game wasn’t aligning the way she had hoped in the first round.

“There were some shots that didn’t work out in my favor, which is golf,” Royal said. “But luckily, I took a step back, focused on my process, and for the final two days, the scores came together.”

This tournament marked Royal’s first tournament as a Bruin.

Coach Alicia Um Holmes said she was pleased with Royal’s performance in the tournament.

“Coming into a new program isn’t always easy,” Um Holmes said. “To have her have one of her best finishes of her college career so far is pretty great. She came in as the fifth player but left this tournament as the first.”

There was a six-stroke differential between UCLA’s first and last finisher. Only one other school had a smaller differential – North Carolina, with five strokes between its top and bottom finishers.

Um Holmes said this consistency stems from the depth of the team.

“This team is so competitive,” Um Holmes said. “Honestly, any one of the eight girls could play in the lineup. I think it (the depth) relieves some of the pressure on the top players, so it’s a very good problem to have.”

Three of the eight players are new to the team, and one player – senior Kate Villegas – joined the team in January and could not compete last season.

Villegas made her UCLA golf debut at the tournament. She finished in a tie for 35th place with a score of 1-over 217.

Villegas said it was exciting to be able to represent the Bruins.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment because last year I wasn’t able to compete with the team,” Villegas said. “It was definitely an awesome moment for me. This team, I feel like we have something really special.”

Behind Royal, junior Zoe Antoinette Campos and redshirt junior Alessia Nobilio carded the second-best individual scores on the team at 4-under 68. Junior Caroline Canales carded a 2-under 70.

The Bruins will tee off again Oct. 2 to compete in the Windy City Collegiate Classic in Golf, Illinois.

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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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