Top-Ranked Arkansas Runs Away With 2017 ANNIKA Intercollegiate; Gopher Women Finish 12th
October 3, 2017
By Nick Hunter
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Tying an NCAA record by shooting 41-under par at the Mason Rudolph Championship in Tennessee to begin the 2017-18 season, the University of Arkansas entered the week as the nation’s No. 1 team.
The Razorbacks fired a 16-under par 848 to earn a 12-stroke victory over the University of California-Los Angeles Tuesday at the 2017 Annika Invitational Presented by 3M at Olympic Hills Golf Club, winning for the second time in as many events.
“Outstanding from top to bottom,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said after her team’s victory Tuesday. “I think we had three girls inside the top-5, so it says a lot about our depth. We had challenging conditions this week, but we prepare on an amazing golf course back at home and I think it really helped to get ready for what we saw.
“It’s the beginning of the year and we have a long season ahead of us, but it’s always good to gain momentum and confidence with the way that we prepare. I’m really proud of our group for their effort.”
A wire-to-wire victory for Arkansas began with a round of 288 in cold and wet conditions Sunday and the Razorback would enter Tuesday’s round with a four-stroke victory over the University of Texas.
Led by junior Maria Fassi, who earned medalist honors for the second straight season at the event, Arkansas would cruise on the final day, carding a team score of 278 to finish 12 strokes better than UCLA.
Asked about how the No. 1 ranking affects her team, Estes-Taylor said, “It’s just a number. I tell the girls all the time it’s process over product. We have to continue to do what we do every day and work hard. Our goal is to get the trophy and if we do things right, we should be in a place where we can do that every week.”
Fassi earned her fourth collegiate victory behind a final-round 66 Tuesday after opening the championship with back-to-back rounds of 70. Fassi carded two birdies on her opening nine before sinking five birdies and one bogey over the final nine to earn medalist honors with a five-stroke victory at 10-under par 206.
“I was really solid over the week; I think I only had five bogeys. Out here with the conditions we had, that’s pretty good,” Fassi said Tuesday. “I was trying to be patient and focusing on my thing and it worked out pretty good.
“Today I was hitting it off the tee really well so I was giving myself opportunities to be aggressive. I had trouble on the back nine the first two rounds—I had 37-37 the first two days—and my goal for today was to beat the course on the back nine. I was being really aggressive because I had those opportunities.”
Tuesday’s victory for both Fassi and Arkansas is even more impressive considering the field at this year’s ANNKIKA Invitational is the toughest field in collegiate golf, with six teams entering the week inside the top-20.
“It’s a great incentive for me; I work really hard,” Fassi said. “To win a tournament like this means that I’m doing the right stuff and if I continue to work hard, that these things are going to come. This is our second win this season and second in a row and winning this one now means a lot for the coaches and for us because we worked really hard for it.”
Both Alana Uriell and Dylan Kim fired rounds of 1-under par 71 during Tuesday’s final round to contribute to the victory for Arkansas, as both golfers finished the championship tied for third at 4-under par 212.
Led by freshman Joanne Free this week, the University of Minnesota posted a final round 319 to finish in 12th place at 935. Free, from Gullane, Scotland, carded a final-round 78 to finish tied for 41st at 228.
Fellow freshman Grace Kellar got off to a promising start by shooting 74 during the opening round Sunday, but following rounds of 81 and 82, respectively, Kellar would finish tied for 53rd at 237.
The Gopher women wrap up the fall season Oct. 27-29 when they travel to Atlanta to compete in the Louisville Ladies Fall Invitational at Atlanta Athletic Club.
THE 2017 ANNIKA INVITATIONAL PRESENTED BY 3M
OLYMPIC HILLS GOLF CLUB
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN.
6,288 YARDS, PAR 72
FINAL TEAM RESULTS
1. Arkansas, 288-282-278—848
2. UCLA, 295-280-285—860
3. Stanford, 294-280-296—870
T4. Texas, 300-274-299—873
T4. Furman, 300-277-296—873
6. South Carolina, 291-288-296—875
7. Southern California, 299-294-292—885
T8. Baylor, 302-290-297—889
T8. Miami, 308-284-297—889
10. Florida State, 301-295-298—894
11. Georgia, 305-295-300—900
12. MINNESOTA, 307-309-319—935
FINAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Maria Fassi, Arkansas, 70-70-66—206
2. Patty Tavantanakit, UCLA, 71-69-71—211
T3. Alana Uriell, Arkansas, 71-70-71—212
T3. Andrea Lee, Stanford, 74-69-69—212
T3. Dylan Kim, Arkansas, 73-68-71—212
T3. Natalie Srinivasan, Furman, 70-68-74—212
T7. Sophia Schubert, Texas, 74-67-72—213
T7. Dewi Weber, Miami, 76-66-71—213
T9. Robynn Ree, USC, 68-74-72—214
T9. Jillian Hollis, Georgia, 72-70-72—214
T41. JOANNE FREE, MINNESOTA, 74-76-78—228
T53. GRACE KELLAR, MINNESOTA, 74-81-82—237
T55. KATE LILLIE, MINNESOTA, 80-77-82—239
T55. SABRINE GARRISON, MINNESOTA, 85-77-77—239
58. MUYU WU, MINNESOTA, 79-79-82—240
For complete tournament results go to: http://results.golfstat.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=team&tid=13891