USC's winning team (USC Athletics photo)
ATLANTA (Oct. 31, 2018) – There isn’t a ton of college-golf experience on the USC roster, but on Wednesday, that didn’t matter. With four sophomore and a freshman, USC came from behind to defeat Stanford, 3-2, in the title match at the East Lake Cup. The Trojans, who also defeated the Cardinal by the same margin in last year’s final, also captured their third straight tournament on the season.
“It’s been really good so far,” USC head coach Justin Silverstein said on the fall season, his first as head coach at Troy. “We have a lot of depth and a good group. All of our wins are team wins and everyone plays their part. As a staff, that’s what we want to see.”
The match came down to sophomore Gabriela Ruffels, who was in the anchor spot against Stanford All-American Andrea Lee. Ruffels was 2 down after eight holes and 1 down through 12. She squared the match on No. 13 and took her first lead on 16. It took a par on No. 17 to win the match, and thus the clinching point.
“I knew on 16 before my chip it was going to come down to my match,” Ruffels said. “I really wanted it for my team and I’m happy we were able to get it done.”
Match play is a format where you can’t hide a week spot in your lineup, and USC – on Wednesday, at least – proved it doesn’t have any of those.
Stanford, a team that is generally very strong in match play, earned its two points decisively. Albane Valenzuela, the individual medalist at the beginning of the week, defeated Jennifer Chang, 6 and 4. Mika Liu took down Amelia Garvey, 4 and 3.
In front of the title match, Arizona and Alabama – the two teams that faced off in the NCAA final last spring – battled for a consolation victory. Alabama suffered early week without top players Lauren Stephenson and Kristen Gillman, both of whom are away at LPGA Q-Series. But on Wednesday, the Crimson Tide took down Alabama, 3-2.
Haley Moore and Yu-Sang Hou put the first two points on the board for Arizona, but the next three went to Alabama. The Tide’s Kenzie Wright took a massive 8-and-6 victory over Arizona senior Bianca Pagdanganan, who was crucial in Arizona’s success last season at NCAAs.
Information from USC Athletics used in this report
View results for Women's East Lake Cup
ABOUT THE Women's East Lake Cup
Started in 2015 and hosted by the historic
Lake Golf Club Atlanta, this collegiate, two-day
play competition features the top-performing
from the previous year's NCAA Women's
View Complete Tournament Information