May 21, 2011
Photo Gallery // Final Results
BRYAN, Texas -
The fourth-ranked Purdue women's golf team followed up its 2010 national championship with a runner-up finish in the 2011 NCAA Championships at the Traditions Club in Bryan, Texas, by recording a 292 on Saturday for a four-round total of 1177 (292-295-298-292, +25).
UCLA won the team championship with a 295 in the final round and a team total of 1173 (289-295-298-292, +21). Austin Ernst, a freshman from LSU won the individual title by carding a 66 in the final round - her second six-under par score of the tournament - to finish with a seven-below par 281.
"I think we actually caught them by about the seventh or eighth hole," head coach Devon Brouse said. "We were pulling them in and then we snuck by them on 11 and 12. I thought that one of two things are going to happen, our girls are either going to keep widening the gap and UCLA's going to get to discourage but they didn't. They [UCLA] bounced back and that's when you really credit them for fighting it out."
Laura Gonzalez-Escallon earned the Boilermakers' top individual finish with a third place showing. The sophomore from Belgium recorded a 71 in the final round for a four-round total of 286 (74-71-70-71, +2). The Boilermakers' two-under par cumulative score ties for the fourth-lowest in school history.
"I played quite well but my putts weren't falling and I didn't make enough birdies," Gonzalez-Escallon said. "I hit it really close and put pressure on [UCLA's] Tiffany Lua but sometimes I couldn't make it. So I'm happy and disappointed because I know I could have done better."
Last year, the Purdue women's golf team headed into the final round of the NCAA Championships with a seven-stroke lead and hung on to win the first women's golf national championship in school and Big Ten history. With all five golfers returning from the title team, the Boilermakers trailed this year by seven strokes after the third round.
Nearing the turn, Purdue made a run aided by bogeys by UCLA to take a two-shot lead, but recorded two bogeys and a double bogey on hole No. 9 to tie things up. The lead would seesaw back-and-forth on the back nine and the score was tied as the first Boilermaker headed to the 18th tee box.
Unfortunately for Purdue that player, Thea Hoffmeister signed an erroneous scorecard and was disqualified for the round. The senior from Berlin, Germany's final score of 75 was correct, but she had recorded a score one stroke too high on No. 12 and one stroke too low (a five instead of bogey six) on No. 18 which disqualified her. Maude-Aimee LeBlanc's five-over par 77 became Purdue's fourth counting score and the final margin moved to four strokes.
Ultimately, it did not matter as Hoffmeister's 75 was not enough to give the Boilermakers the victory.
"We were fortunate last year to come away with a win; things kind of went our way the last couple holes and today things went against us," Brouse said. "Sure it's disappointing, but we're a good team. They've accomplished a lot in the last couple years and we're going to walk away with some lessons and hopefully we'll be back again."
Numa Gulyanamitta rebounded from a 77 in the third round to fire a one-under par 71 on Saturday. The senior from Thailand moved into a tie for eighth with a total of 289 (71-70-77-71, +1). Last year Gulyanamitta tied for ninth at the NCAA Championships.
"I played okay, but there were a lot of shots that I could have made," Gulyanamitta said. "I could have played better but sometimes the ball didn't want to go in. I think we all tried our best but we didn't get the outcome that we wanted. I'm still very proud of our team for what we've accomplished."
On Saturday evening, Gonzalez-Escallon and Gulyanamitta both were named second team All-American by the National Golf Coaches' Association.
Sophomore Paula Reto finished tied for 45th after equaling her best round of the tournament with a 73 on Saturday. Reto totaled 301 (73-78-77-73, +13) to earn Purdue's third-best finish.
LeBlanc tied for 55th with a 303 (74-76-76-77, +15). The senior from Sherbrooke, Quebec, tied for third in last year's national championship run.
By virtue of her disqualification, Hoffmeister finished tied for 72. Hoffmeister opened with a 74, shot an 81 followed by a 75 in the third round. Her final round score if it would have counted was a 75.