NEW ORLEANS (February 26, 2013) -- Baylor sophomore Hayley Davis earned her first tournament win after shooting 4-under-par 68 in Tuesday’s final round at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate. Davis birdied her final three holes to claim medalist honors by two strokes.
Davis’ final round 68 was two strokes better than any other player in the field, and she was the only player to play a bogey-free round on Tuesday, recording four birdies and 14 pars in difficult conditions at the English Turn Golf & Country Club. Monday’s second round was cancelled due to severe weather damage to the course, and teams played through winds gusting to 30 miles per hour in Tuesday’s final round.
“I felt that on the first day I played well, but not that well, and I knew that I could play a good round out there if I just hit the ball a little bit closer,” Davis said. “I was happy that I got another opportunity today to go out there and try and shoot a good score. It was a one- or a two-club wind nearly the whole way around, but I don’t mind playing in the wind – I’m from England, so I’m kind of used to it.”
The final round was a shotgun start, and Davis began on the seventh tee. She was 1-under-par through 15 holes, but she finished her round with three straight birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes to claim the tournament title.
“If you’re playing a soaking wet golf course with 30 mile-per-hour winds, it’s just a tough deal – that’s why Hayley’s round was so amazing,” head coach Jay Goble said. “Hayley never wanted to know where she stood before today, so we tried something different, and I told her where she was starting with six holes to go when she was 1-under-par. I just kept telling her where she stood in relation to the lead, and the great thing is that she was really aggressive going into those last couple of holes.”
Davis (-4, 140) had five second-place finishes in her first 17 collegiate tournaments before winning the Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate. She beat out a field of 90 golfers that included six of the nation’s top-10 ranked players, including No. 1-ranked Kelsey Vines of Oklahoma State, who finished in a three-way tie for second place at 2-under-par 142.
“She’s been close so many times, and like I’ve said before, I knew it was coming and it was just a matter of when it was going to happen,” Goble said. “She did it with an exclamation point by making birdies on her last three holes. None of the holes were playing easy out here today, but she told me that she really wanted to focus on playing the shot at hand and playing one shot at a time, and that’s what she did to finish and walk away with her first college victory.”
Baylor (+17, 593) finished tied for seventh in an 18-team field that featured 10 teams ranked in the nation’s top 25. The Lady Bears were just four strokes back of fourth place Tulane (+13, 589), two strokes back of Purdue (+15, 591) in fifth and one stroke behind LSU (+16, 592) in sixth place. USC (+4, 580) won the tournament by one stroke in a playoff against UCLA (+4, 580).
“To finish in the upper half of a strong field is always good, but we definitely left some shots out there, and we’re going to be identifying some things we need to work on when we get back,” Goble said. “Everyone besides Hayley had a really poor finish – we had three players who doubled their final holes. Losing six shots on your last hole and then finishing a few shots out of fourth is tough to swallow, but we’re not looking to peak right now, we’re looking to learn from our mistakes and get ready for postseason.”
Lauren Taylor (+6, 150) finished tied for 35th, Emma Carberry (+7, 151) tied for 41st, Annette Lyche (+8, 152) was tied for 45th and Laura Lonardi (+11, 155) tied for 66th place. Taylor and Carberry shot 78 in the final round, while Lyche shot 79 and Lonardi recorded an 81.
Baylor’s next tournament is the SunTrust Gator Women’s Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., which runs March 15-17. Follow the official twitter feed of Baylor women’s golf, @BaylorWGolf, for updates throughout the season.
TOP 5 TEAMS AT SUGAR BOWL INTERCOLLEGIATE
1. USC (+4, 580)
2. UCLA (+4, 580)
3. Duke (+7, 583)
4. Tulane (+13, 589)
5. Purdue (+15, 591)
BAYLOR PLAYERS AT SUGAR BOWL INTERCOLLEGIATE
1. Hayley Davis (-4, 140)
t35. Lauren Taylor (+6, 150)
t41. Emma Carberry (+7, 151)
t45. Annette Lyche (+8, 152)
t66. Laura Lonardi (+11, 155)