Lopez Finishes as NCAA W. Golf Runner-Up
BRADENTON, Fla. – University of Arkansas junior Gabriela Lopez posted a final round 66 and finished as the NCAA Women’s Golf individual runner-up at Concessions Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., Monday.
Lopez and the eighth-ranked Razorbacks scratched their way into the top 15 teams and advanced to the fourth and final round of stroke play competition. Arkansas hoped to be in the top eight by the end of the day today to move on to match play and, despite posting their best round of the tournament, finished ninth, three strokes back of eighth place.
Lopez finished tied for second overall shooting 70-76-74-66=286. Lopez opened her round on the 10th hole of the course. She birdied No. 12, No. 13 and No. 15 to turn at three-under.
On the 12th hole, Lopez, who posted a bogey-free round, hit the green on her tee shot and two-putted on the par four. She followed up on 13 where she launched her third shot over the pin but got great spin and the ball rolled back for an eight-inch birdie putt.
She added her third birdied of the day on the par four 15th hole. She was longest in her group off the tee and flew her second shot to three foot of the pin. She sank the birdie putt moving to three-under.
Lopez pared the next five holes before an incredible eagle, the second of the week for her, on No. 3, her 12th hole of the day. Lopez was good off the tee on the 511-yard par five but her second shot hit the green and rolled off into a large undulation on the left side of the hole.
Lopez was 40 yards from the pin and chipped the ball up onto the green where it rolled in for eagle. That shot moved Lopez to five-under for her round. She added five more par holes before a final birdie on the ninth hole.
The Mexico City, Mexico, native was in the bunker off the tee. She had 147 to the pin and hit a seven-iron out of the sand to 10 foot and flag high. Lopez rolled in the 10-footer for the birdie.
As a team, the Razorbacks finished the team competition ninth overall shooting 310-306-303-298=1217. Freshman Alana Uriell finished 48th shooting 80-72-80-76=309, in her first NCAA Championship appearance. Junior Regina Plasencia, who qualified last week for the U.S. Women’s Open, finished tied for 51st shooting 77-79-77-78=311.
Sophomore Samantha Marks tied for 73rd overall shooting 85-81-75-78=319 and sophomore Summar Roachell rounded out the Razorback scoring shooting 83-78-77-82=320 and tied for 76th overall.
FROM GABRIELA LOPEZ
On what got her started Monday:
It was a really special round on a special day, Memorial Day. At the first tee, we were told we would represent some of the military who were killed, and mine was Captain James Dominic, and he was killed November 9, 2012. In that moment I smiled, because that’s my birthday. And in that moment I knew it was going to be a good round. It was a really special moment for me to represent someone I had a connection with, and I was pretty proud to help put his name somewhere in the top.
On burying a difficult chip-in:
I knew everything was going my way in that chip for sure. It was a tough chip, and it was really steep. I knew that I could use the back slope to stop the ball and come back. I hit a great chip and hit it. You never know, but I’m always wishing I’m going to make one ball from the fairway. Today I did. I’m very proud of how I trusted and believed in myself today, and it’s really cool to see what the mind can do.
On managing a bogey-free round on this tough of a course:
My record is 66. I’m really excited to give myself a bogey-free round for the last round of the tournament. The last shot from the (fairway) bunker (on the 9th hole), I think I will remember that the rest of my life.
On how special the round was to her:
I think it’s ridiculously special. I felt calm out there. I knew I would feel some nerves at the beginning, or excitement, but as soon as the lady told me who I was representing, I knew whatever happened, it was going to be ok. My goal today was to do my best on every shot, and I did make some mistakes, but was able to get up-and-down from where I was.
FROM SHAUNA ESTES-TAYLOR
When I first saw the golf course I knew it would fit Gaby’s game. She is the kind of player who has all the tools in her toolbox and she did a great job this week of managing her game. I couldn’t be more proud of her and happy for her success.
- 2015 is Arkansas’ seventh NCAA Championship appearance (2013, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2006, 2005).
- Lopez’s runner-up finish is the second in program history and trails only individual winner Stacy Lewis (2007). It ties Kelli Shean’s runner-up finish in 2011.
- Lopez’s 66 in the final round ties for the program’s best round at the NCAA Tournament (Stacy Lewis, 2006, 2007).
- Arkansas’ ninth place finish is the third-best in program
- Lopez’s 286 ties for the second lowest individual total in program history at an NCAA Championship (Stacy Lewis, 282, 2007; Kelli Shean, 286, 2011).
For more information on Arkansas women’s golf, follow @RazorbackWGolf on Twitter.