“It was another step in the right direction,” head coach Joey Cerulle said. “We were very close to being where we wanted to be at.”
LBSU carded the low round of the event at 2-over par 290 in the first round of action, asserting themselves as the favorite to take care of business on it’s home course. Junior Cara Barker and sophomore Holland Shourds each shot 1-under par 71 to help Long Beach to an early lead.
“To come out in the first round and just put the hammer down on the field was awesome,” Cerulle said.
The second round was a different story for Long Beach, who shot 21-over par as the conditions got worsened later in the day. Some miscues in the second round put them eight strokes back of eventual winners, Georgia. They were scheduled to play in Puerto Rico this week, but because of the damage done by hurricane Maria, opted to play in Long Beach as an alternative.
The Bulldogs were the only team to manage all three round scores under 300 (296, 295 and 292) to win the event by five strokes over BYU.
“This group of six [players] we have here made a huge statement and kind of showed what our program is trying to become,” Georgia head coach Josh Brewer said.
Long Beach played well in the final round and recorded the second best round of the day Tuesday at 6-over 294, but was not able to overcome the stumble of Monday’s afternoon round.
“We were probably six holes on the back nine of the second round away from winning this tournament,” Cerulle said. “We just really didn’t have putts fall in that [second round]. When the conditions go tougher, they got better. I’m not saying we folded but we didn’t really hold our own in the conditions that were out there.”
Long Beach also continued a significant trend in its 2017-2018 season; they have yet to finish behind a Big West Conference opponent.
Barker began the tournament with a 1-under par 71 to tie for the lead with Shourds after round one. Like most of the field, the junior from Coronado, Calif. faltered in the second round with a 7-over par 79.
“In my second round I had some difficulty staying positive after a couple of bad holes,” Barker said. “I was able to come back strong [in the final round] and overall I played some pretty good golf.”
She jumped eight spots on the leaderboard to a tie for 7th, a career best, after an even-par 72 closing round Tuesday.
“I drove the ball pretty well and was in some good spots for the most part,” Barker said. “I hit a lot of greens, especially in the first round, and had a good amount of birdie opportunities.”
The individual medal went to Idaho junior Sophie Hausmann, who defended her title at The Gold Rush after winning at Old Ranch Country Club last year. She shot two rounds in the 60’s after a 3-over par 75 opening round to repeat as champion in Long Beach.
“I made an eagle putt late in the first round so I saw a putt go in which really helped,” Hausman said. “I just told myself, ‘go and get it’ and made another eagle early in the second round and then went on to make a few more birdies.”
Shourds (223) fell to a tie for 10th, the second top-10 of her career, while senior Jennifer Yu (227) tied for 27th and sophomore Euna Pak (229) tied for 37th. Junior Haley Tygret shot a bogey free 1-under par 71 to jump 24 spots and tie for 12th.
The 49ers will have two weeks to prepare for the Rebel Invitational at Spanish Trail Country Club in Las Vegas Feb. 26 and 27.