Sambach Wins Annika Individual Title; Wake Forest Is the Team Champion
September 14, 2022
By Michael R Fermoyle
LAKE ELMO -- It wasn't quite the same kind of virtuoso performance that she had turned in during the first two days of the Annika Intercollegiate, but it didn't need to be. Amanda Sambach had separated herself from an elite field with an opening round of 7-under-par 65 at Royal Golf Club on Monday and a 68 on Tuesday, and the combination of a six-stroke lead to start the day and a 74 on Wednesday was enough to give the University of Virginia sophomore her first victory in a college tournament.
Her 54-hole total of 207 (9 under) was two better than the 209's posted by the second-place finishers, Wake Forest's Lauren Walsh and Bohyun Park of Texas. Park closed with a 69, Walsh with a 70. Duke's Phoebe Brinker tied Park and Florida's Annabell Fuller for the low score of the day with a 69, and she finished alone in fourth at 210. Fuller moved up eight spots, into a three-way tie for fifth at 213, along with South Carolina teammates Hannah Darling and Mathilde Claisse, both of whom had 74's.
After Sambach made a short putt for a valedictory birdie on the 18th green, her teammates rushed out to congratulate her -- and soak her with water. She was then congratulated by the tournament eponym, Annika Sorenstam.
"It's insane," Sambach marveled a few minutes later. "First of all, just to win a tournament that has her name on it, but to have her here in person is unbelievable. She's literally the GOAT."
(Sorenstam won 89 tournaments, including 10 majors, during her 15 years competing as a full-time professional. Along the way, she became the only LPGA Tour player to shoot 59.)
Nine holes into the final round, Sambach was still cruising. She was even par for the day, 9 under for the tournament, four shots ahead, and she was heading for the back nine, which she had played in 4 under each of the previous two days. But Wednesday was a different story. She bogeyed the 345-yard, par-4 10th, the 410-yard, par-4 11th and the 400-yard, par-4 13th. And suddenly, things had gotten a lot more interesting.
Bohyun and Walsh both bogeyed the 11th, too, but they were both within two of Sambach going into the last five holes. Walsh birdied the drivable 15th, a 296-yard par 4, to get within one. But she slipped back when she bogeyed the par 3 16th (183 yards). Bohyun and Walsh both birdied the 18th hole, but Sambach responded in kind. She was just off the green at the 451-yard par 5 in two, and chipped to within 2 feet to seal her victory.
Like Sambach, the Virginia team began the day with a six-shot lead, but the Cavaliers had to count two 74s and a 76, and they could do no better than 296 for their combined score. Wake Forest, the No. 3 team in Golfweek's pre-season rankings for NCAA Division I women, had Walsh and two other players under par, and the Deacons put together a 285, which gave them a three-day aggregate of 858 (-6). That was good enough for a four-stroke victory.
No. 16 Texas turned in the day's lowest total, a 283, and finshed second at 862. Virginia, No. 14, dropped back into third at 863, and No. 4 South Carolina tied No. 28 Duke for fourth at 865. Oregon, the highest-ranked team in the tournament at No. 2, finished sixth at 866.
Minnesota, the host team, is not ranked in Golfweek's top 30, and the Gophers finished 12th out of 12 teams with a cumulative 908. But their prize recruit for 2022, former state high school champion Bella McCauley, a home-schooler from Inver Grove Heights, posted the team's only sub-par score of the week on Wednesday, a 71, and with that, she moved up 11 places into a tie for 41st at 223. The two-time Minnesota Girls Junior PGA champion and winner of the 2021 Minnesota Golf Champions was 5 over par after her first 14 holes on Monday, but she settled down and played the last 40 holes in 2 over.
At Royal Golf Club
Par 72, 6,4089 yards
Final results (Golfweek pre-season rankings for teams are in parenthesis)
1. Wake Forest (3) 294-279-285-858 (-6)
2. Texas (16) 288-291-283--862
3. Virginia (14) 284-283-296--863
T4. South Carolina (4) 295-279-291--865
T4. Duke (28) 292-284-289--865
6. Oregon (2) 292-289-285--866
7. Florida (19) 294-286-291--871
8. Arizona State (6) 300-285-291--876
9. Michigan (15) 288-288-304--880
10. Auburn (12) 303-290-290--883
11. Alabama (26) 303-293-296--892
12. Minnesota (not in top 30) 304-299-305--908
1. Amanda Sambach, Virginia 65-68-74--207 (-9)
T2. Lauren Walsh, Wake Forest 73-66-70--209
T2. Bohyun Park, Texas 69-71-69--209
4. Phiebe Brinker, Duke 72-69-69--210
T5. Hannah Darling, So. Carolina 73-66-74-213
T5. Annabell Fuller, Florida 70-74-69--213
T5. Mathilde Claisse, So. Carolina 72-67-74--213
8. Huai-Chien Hsu, Texas 74-70-70--214
T10. Rachel Kuehn, Wake Forest 73-72-71--216
T10. Emilia Migliaccio, Wake Forest 74-68-74--216
T44. Bella McCauley, Minnesota 76-76-71--223
T49. Emma Carpenter, Minnesota 74-73-80--227
T52. Leah Herzog, Minnesota 77-73-78--228
T58. Mariana Mesones, Minnesota 77-77-82--236
T58. Grace Curran, Minnesota 79-81-76--236