Valery Plata wins first women's Patriot All-America Invitational
made history Friday at the Wigwam Resort outside of Phoenix, becoming the first winner of the women's division of the Patriot All-America Invitational, dubbed "college golf's bowl game."
Plata claimed the Patriot's inaugural women's championship by stringing together three superb sub-par rounds of 67-65-66 for a 54-hole total 12-under 198, earning her a three-stroke victory over Erica Shepherd
of Duke, who finished at 9-under 201 following a final round of 67.
of Arizona State was four back at 8-under 202 while Kaleiya Romero
of Pepperdine, who held a share of the lead after each of the first two rounds, slipped back into a tie for 17th at 3-under 207 following a disappointing final round of 75.
"Being the first winner of any event is pretty special," said Plata. "My mom is with me this week and she hasn't watched me play in a long time so getting this win in front of her was pretty exciting."
Plata, last year's Big 10 Player of the Year at Michigan State, didn't exactly get off to a dream start on Friday, making a double bogey on the par-5 third, a hole she had birdied the previous two days.
She shook off the cobwebs with birdies on holes 5 and 7 to get back to even for the day and made a clutch par save on the ninth which kept her at 8-under for the tournament.
While Shepherd couldn't get anything going with her putter, Plata hit the accelerator and birdied four of the last five holes for a closing 66 en route to the title.
"It was a hard day at the beginning but I'm happy things worked out the way they did," said Plata. "I wasn't hitting it all that great today but I hit some pretty good approach shots and got my putter going a bit."
Plata also made history in November when she won the inaugural Women's Amateur Latin America Championship at the Pilar Golf Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
ABOUT THE Patriot All-America Women's Invitational
The Wigwam and the Women’s Golf Coaches
Association (WGCA), in partnership with the
Folds of Honor Foundation present the Patriot All-
America Women's Invitational. It's one of the most
unique events in all of golf.
42 top collegiate players named to the PING All-
America team in NCAA Division I,II and III, NAIA
and NJCAA, AJGA, one player from each military
academy and select international players compete in
Each player honors our military by carrying a bag
the name, rank and service of a fallen or severely
wounded soldier embroidered on the pocket.
the championship, the bags go to the players’ school
for auction, with proceeds benefiting the Folds of
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