Alabama wins the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate again
(Alabama Athletics Photo)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (March 4, 2017) - For the fifth time Alabama has won the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, a tournament that attracts a top-ranked field and has only been played seven-times.
Alabama took the lead on day one and never looked back finishing 14-over and eight clear of runner-up Arkansas (+22), Wake Forest (+26) was third, Duke (+27) took fourth and in fifth was Northwestern (+34).
For Alabama the win was their second of the year and first of the spring. The Crimson Tide were led by junior Lauren Stephenson who finished second with a 1-under showing. Stephenson put together scores of 69-71-72 as she birdied twice and bogeyed three-times in the final round. On Sunday Stephenson was 2-under overall with nine holes remaining but she bogeyed the 10th and then parred to the house thus falling short of medalist winner Maria Fassi of Arkansas by two shots.
Playing at Long Cove Club Alabama placed three more players inside the top-15; Lakareber Abe (T6; +4), two-time defending individual champion Cheyenne Knight (T6; +4) and Kristen Gillman (T15; +7).
For medalist winner Maria Fassi the victory was a continuation of her fantastic season. The junior now four wins this season as she became just the second Razorback in program history to win four or more events in one season joining LPGA star Stacy Lewis.
Fassi, 3-under for the tournament, saved her best for last carding a 2-under 69 (70-71 in first two rounds) to overcome a two-stroke deficit. The round began with four straight pars before Fassi, one of just two players to finish under-par, got rolling with birdies on Nos. 5, 6, 15 and 18. Her only dropped shot was on the 9th hole.
Emilia Migliaccio (Wake Forest) was third at even-par, 36-hole leader Claudia De Antonio (LSU) fell to fourth at 1-over while Jillian Hollis (Georgia) was 2-over in fifth.
ROUND TWO RECAP
Alabama is one round away from winning yet another Darius Rucker Intercollegiate hosted by the Long Cove Club. In an event that has only been around since 2012 Alabama has dominated the event wining the title four-times and on Sunday they will have a chance to win their fifth title out of seven tournaments in event history.
For a second straight day Alabama, in search of win number two of the year, was led by Lauren Stephenson who followed up her 2-under 69 with a level-par 71 and she will begin the final round 2-under in second place. Stephenson, looking to improve on her ninth place finish in the event last year, is just one shot behind medalist leader Claudia De Antonio of LSU.
Three other members of the Alabama lineup find themselves in the top-14 of the standings heading into the final round; Lakareber Abe (T8; +3), Kristen Gillman (T14; +4) and two-time defending individual champion Cheyenne Knight (T14; +4).
When final round play resumes Northwestern (+15) will begin the day in second place, Arkansas (+18) is third, Furman (+21) sits in fourth while Wake Forest (+22) is fifth.
Medalist leader Claudia De Antonio took over the individual lead on Saturday and she will begin final round play 3-under. The Tiger senior is currently putting together the best performance of her career, having only once in four seasons finished inside the top-10.
After opening with a 4-under 67 six birdies and two bogeys De Antonio followed it up with a 1-over 72 that still leaves her one clear of Stephenson, a shared medalist winner already this year.
Behind De Antonio and Stephenson in the individual standings are a quartet of players sharing third at 1-under and just two back; Maria Fassi (Arkansas), Emilia Migliaccio (Wake Forest), Brooke Riley (Northwestern) and Jillian Hollis (Georgia).
First round leader Olivia Mehaffey (Arizona State) really struggled in the second round and is in a tie for eighth at 3-over.
ROUND ONE RECAP
The Darius Rucker Intercollegiate was first played in 2012 and in that stretch Alabama has won the title four-times. There is still two rounds remaining but their quest for title number five is off to a good start.
Following day one at the Long Cove Club the Crimson Tide are 2-over and one shot ahead of second place Northwestern who sits at 3-over, Arkansas is 6-over in third, LSU owns the third spot at 7-over while 8-over Furman and Mississippi State share fifth.
On Friday Alabama was led to the lead by junior Lauren Stephenson who at 2-under is tied for fourth. Stephenson, tied for ninth in the event last year, carded three birdies and one bogey in the first round.
The other counting scores for Alabama came from Lakareber Abe (T10; E), Kristen Gillman (T23; +2) and two-time defending individual winner Cheyenne Knight (T23; +2).
In the medalist race Arizona State's Olivia Mehaffey is the pace setter following a 5-under 66. The sophomore who played a key role last year in the Sun Devils run to the national title birdied five-times on the opening nine en route to a bogey-free 5-under 31. Overall Mehaffey birdied six-times and bogeyed only once.
Claudia De Antonio (LSU) is second at 4-under, Hannah Kim (Northwestern) is 3-under in third and in a share of fourth it is Alice Chen (Furman), Stephenson, Stephanie Lau (Northwestern) at 2-under.