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UCLA women’s golf secures win at The Match in the Desert for second year in a row

Redshirt junior Alessia Nobilio eyes the ball after her swing. (Courtesy of Ross Turteltaub/UCLA Athletics)

Women's Golf

Match in the Desert

1st place (-17, 271)

By Sabrina Baker

Jan. 24, 2024 12:03 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 25 at 11:27 p.m.

The Bruins defended their desert title.

No. 4 UCLA women’s golf won The Match in the Desert for the second year in a row with a score of 17-under 271, a five-stroke improvement from its win at Superstition Mountain Golf Club in Arizona last year. UCLA finished ahead of two Pac-12 foes, No. 25 Arizona and No. 21 Arizona State, who placed second and third, respectively.

Coach Alicia Um Holmes said this year’s winning group is vastly different from last year’s contingent.

“This year, our team is much deeper than last year’s team,” Um Holmes said. “The competition has been pretty fierce getting into tournaments, and that has helped everybody lift their games up.”

UCLA’s 17-under 271 score tied the program record for lowest single-round score.

Redshirt junior Alessia Nobilio carded the best score of her collegiate career – 6-under 66 – making her the top finisher for the Bruins in a tie for second place. She was two strokes behind the first-place finisher, Arizona’s Gile Bite Starkute.

Nobilio said she felt this result was a culmination of the effort she has put into golf.

“The hard work pays off at some point,” Nobilio said. “I’ve been working very consistently over the winter break and since I got here.”

Nobilio was not the only Bruin to finish near the top of the leaderboard.

The rest of UCLA’s lineup finished in sixth place or better. Senior Kate Villegas and juniors Tiffany Le and Zoe Antoinette Campos all carded scores of 3-under 69 to finish in a tie for sixth place.

Um Holmes said even with these strong performances, many of her players thought they could improve.

“They were happy to get the team win and tie our low team score for the round,” Um Holmes said. “But they feel like they have a little bit of work to do to clean up certain areas of the game.”

Junior Natalie Vo finished in fourth place with a score of 5-under 67, the best 18-hole score in her collegiate career.

This tournament also marked Vo’s first as a Bruin, as she transferred from Colorado before this season.

Vo said her self-assurance helped her find success during her debut.

“At this tournament especially, I took my time and tried to stay confident in myself and know that I could do it,” Vo said. “Being confident overall really helped me play well.”

Unlike many of the other multi-day, multi-round tournaments the Bruins play in, The Match in the Desert was just one day and one round of 18 holes. UCLA totaled 29 birdies and nine bogeys over the course of 18 holes.

UCLA will return to action the multi-round format for the three-day Therese Hession Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes Golf Club on Feb. 4.

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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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