Four Golfers Tie For Co-Medalist Honors while South Carolina Wins the Team Title of the Annika Intercollegiate
September 13, 2023 | 7 min.
LAKE ELMO, Minn. - With 10 players starting the final day of the Annika Intercollegiate at Royal Golf Club within three strokes of the leaders, the field was primed for a player to make a move from the pack and catch the pair at the top—Mimi Rhodes from Wake Forest and Maylis Lamoure from South Carolina. And when the final scores were tallied, four players did and finished in a tie for the ninth playing of this competitive event.
The winning score of 8-under (208) adorned the scorecards of Louise Rydqvist from the University of South Carolina, Lottie Woad from Florida State University, Phoebe Brinker from Duke University and Kiara Romero from Oregon University. But how they all reached that point was a twisting tale of ups and downs amongst the hills of Royal GC.
Players teed off in temperatures hovering in the low 50s, perhaps hoping for the sun to rise and warm up the course—and even their chances for an early run. And several players did just that. Rydqvist, the Day 1 leader, said after the second round that she planned “to go low” in round three, and she was true to her word, making eagle on the par 5 second hole (knocking a 220-yard 3-wood uphill to about 10 feet) and a then birdie on the third to vault into the lead at 9 under par.
“I definitely had to go out there and shoot low today,” Rydqvist said. “You don’t know what everybody else has done, so you just have to go out there and shoot your best and see if that’s enough.”
But Rydqvist wasn’t alone at the top long, as Romero, with seemingly a similar game plan in mind since she opened her round with three straight birdies to tie Rydqvist at 9 under par.
“I came off to a really good start on the first three holes. I had so much confidence and it felt like everything was going my way,” Romero said. “I kind of lost it a little bit, but tried to stay patient and kept my confidence throughout the whole round.”
Both leaders stumbled with a bogey (Rydqvist on the tough par three fourth and Romero on the downhill par four 5th before Rydqvist retook the lead with a birdie on the 6th to get back to nine under, a stroke ahead of Romero, Rhodes and Lamoure.
But just as things had started to settle into a back-and-forth between the two final groups, FSU’s Lottie Woad caught fire coming into the turn and jumped into the lead. Beginning her round on the back nine, she birdied two of the last three holes on her opening nine and then two of the first three holes on the front (her back nine) to reach 10-under and grab a one-stroke lead. Her bogey on the difficult par 3 4th hole brought her back into a tie with, Rhodes, whose two birdies on the front nine helped her get to nine under before surrendering a stroke on 10 and the lead back to Woad.
Meanwhile another player in Woad’s threesome, Duke’s Brinker, who started the day one shot off the pace and then bogeyed her second hole of the day (No. 11), patiently bided her time until she got that stroke back on the short par 4 15 (her sixth hole) and then birdied again on tough uphill par 4 6th to pull within one stroke of Woad. When Woad three-putted the downhill seventh for bogey, she dropped into a tie at 8-under with Brinker (plus Rhodes and Rydqvist) with only two holes left to play.
“This golf course you have to be patient, so I just tried to stay patient,” Brinker said after her round.
On 17, the par 4 No. 8, Brinker’s approach found the putting surface while Woad short-sided herself in a greenside bunker left. She chipped past the hole and missed the putt for bogey, while Brinker made a five-footer to take the lead—which was now shared with Rydqvist and Rhodes, who still had four more holes to play than Brinker.
Brinker bombed her drive on 18 (the par 5 ninth), at least 30 yards ahead of Woad, but both competitors missed the green in two. Woad made a beautiful chip from the fringe below the green to about three feet, putting pressure on Brinker in the right rough, hole high. Brinker’s chip came up short of the putting surface, and after a two-putt par, Woad sank her birdie to tie Brinker as leaders in the clubhouse at 8 under.
“I played pretty solid but had a couple of late bogeys. But on nine I had a good up-and-down to tie the lead on the last,” Woad said. “But I am not really sure if it will be enough because the others have two par 5s yet.”
But it was enough. Over on the back nine, Rydqvist, Romero and Rhodes were still hanging around the lead and battling, heading toward the final two holes—both par 5s. Rhodes had bogeyed the short par 4 15 on her way in, bringing her back to even for the day and in a four-way tie (including Lamoure) for fifth place. But Rydqvist and Romero each birdied the 296-yard 15th, launching Rydqvist into a tie for the lead and Romero one stroke back.
On 18, Rydqvist hit another monster 3-wood 230 yards uphill to the elevated green and to 20 feet for eagle. Her eagle putt fell off the ridge left of the hole, and she had to settle for a three-putt par, but it was still a share of the title.
“I felt okay about my round,” Rydqvist said. “Obviously I was a little disappointed with the three-putt on the last, but it will all soak in as my first-ever collegiate victory, so it is absolutely incredible.”
Romeo, still grinding in the group behind her, also made the green in two and had left herself with a twisting five-footer for birdie. Unbeknownst to her, that final putt was for a share a title and she made it to join the quartet on the podium—in her first-ever collegiate event.
“It’s very cool; she’s such an inspiration to all of us,” Romero said of being co-medalist in Annika Sorenstam’s event. “And I am really proud of myself for my college debut.”
In the team competition, South Carolina, which entered the round with a three-stroke lead over Wake Forest, jumped out to a big lead thanks to the eagle/birdie start by Rydqvist that was matched by her teammate Vairana Heck (who finished T-9 at 6-under-par). Their early lead ballooned to 10 strokes but continued play tightened up the match considerably.
By the end of the round, South Carolina, thanks to three players finishing in the Top 10 beat out Oregon by three strokes for the team title. Oregon, with Romero as a co-medalist, Brian Chacon finishing at T-5 (7-under-par) and Minori Nagano T-15 at 5-under-par, leap-frogged Wake Forest for the runner-up team.
Both Wake Forest and South Carolina came into the event with two team titles. South Carolina won the inaugural event in 2014 and once again in 2021, and now hoisted the trophy in a third win for their head coach and Edina, Minn., native Kalen Anderson.
ROYAL GOLF CLUB
LAKE ELMO, MINN.
6,395 YARDS, PAR 72
FINAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
T1. Phoebe Brinker Duke 70-68-70-208
T1. Lottie Woad Florida State 70-68-70-208
T1. Kiara Romero Oregon 67-71-70-208
T1. Louise Rydqvist South Carolina 66-72-70-208
T5. Briana Chacon Oregon 69-70-70-209
T5. Farah O'Keefe Texas 71-67-71-209
T5. Mimi Rhodes Wake Forest 68-69-72-209
T5. Maylis Lamoure South Carolina 67-70-72-209
T9. Amanda Sambach Virginia 70-72-68-210
T9. Macy Pate Wake Forest 70-72-68-210
T9. Vairana Heck South Carolina 69-73-68-210
T9. Kajsa Arwefjall San Jose State 68-74-68-210
T9. Lucia Lopez-Ortega San Jose State 67-74-69-210
T9. Zoe Slaughter Texas A&M 70-70-70--210
FINAL TEAM RESULTS
1. South Carolina 273-282-283-838
2. Oregon 280-282-279-841
3. Wake Forest 277-281-284-842
4. San Jose State 277-289-289-855
5. Texas A&M 283-285-288-856
6. Texas 288-280-289-857
7. Florida State 287-283-289-859
8. Virginia 287-288-290-865
9. Duke 291-282-294-867
10. Mississippi State 292-286-295-873
11. Minnesota 290-301-293-884
12. Baylor 286-300-299-885
For full tournament results, visit: https://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=player&tid=28146