San Jose State, ASU's Fanali win Silverado Showdown titles
Courtesy of San Jose State Athletics
Winning is becoming habit-forming for San Jose State, as the seventh-ranked Spartans claimed their third tournament of the spring on Wednesday at the Silverado Showdown in Napa, Calif.
With a 6-over team score of 870, the Spartans edged No. 2 Oregon by two strokes in what turned into a two-team race on a warm spring day on Silverado's North Course. Three Spartans finished in the top-10, led by Antonia Malate, who finished third at 2-under 213. Kajsa Arwefjall tied for sixth (-1) while Natasha Andrea Oon tied for 10th (+1).
Arizona State senior Alessandra Fanali earned medalist honors at 7-under 209 (69-71-69), three strokes clear of Caitlyn Macnab (-4; 212) of TCU.
San Jose State has been one of the most consistent teams in the nation this year, as the Spartans have not finished lower than fifth in the team standings in their eight full-field events. After starting the spring with a win at the Lamkin Invitational in February, the Spartans came back three weeks later to win their own Juli Inkster Invitational and following a second-place showing at the MountainView Collegiate, bounced back to win their third team title of the season Wednesday at Silverado.
In each of its first two wins, San Jose State edged top-ranked Stanford for the team title and today the Spartans outdueled No. 2 Oregon by two strokes for win No. 3 on the year. The Spartans second-place finish at MountainView was by just one stroke.
"Oregon is really tough but down the stretch we made a couple of key birdies to hold on," said San Jose State head coach Dana Dormann. "We've been in this position so many times before so I knew they had it in them and luckily, it came out our way again.
"This team is strong, free-wheeling and a lot of fun. It's awesome to watch this happen."
Nothing comes easy for the Spartans, though, as their three wins have come by a combined total of six strokes.
San Jose State entered the final round with an eight-stroke lead over the second-ranked Ducks, but watched it all evaporate, as Oregon's Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu, Ching-Tzu Chen and Tze-Han Lin started reeling off birdies on the inward nine. Lin's birdie on the par-5 16th, her third in five holes, gave the Ducks the lead.
The Spartans answered, with Oon, Arwefjall and Lucia Lopez-Ortega combining for seven birdies on their inward nines. Oon's three birdies came in a four hole stretch (12-15) while Arwefjall made back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 to swing the tournament back in San Jose State's favor.
Malate was one of eight players in the field who competed in last week's Augusta National Women's Invitational. She made the cut and got home at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, but made it to Silverado for a practice round that afternoon. She opened the tournament with rounds of 69-68 and at 7-under 137, took a three-stroke lead over Fanali into the final round.
She maintained her three-stroke lead at the turn, but lost her grip on the individual title after making four bogeys on the first five holes to start the backside. However, Malate steadied the ship and parred each of her last four holes to close out the Spartans final round score of 293 (+6) which was enough to fend off the Ducks.
"I don't know if the long week and a half caught up with her today or not, but for her (Malate) to come through over the last four holes was huge for us. They're finding it within themselves to come through in the clutch and that will serve us well heading into the postseason."
Fanali has enjoyed her two trips to Silverado. After finishing fifth last season, the senior from Fiuggi, Italy carded a final round 69 on Wednesday to finish at 7-under 209, three strokes clear of TCU's Macnab for secure her first full-field victory of her career.
Starting on hole No. 7, Fanali opened with a bogey but answered with birdies on the 11th and 15th holes, both par 3s, after hitting her tee shots to within seven feet of the hole. She went to 2-under on the day with a birdie on the par-5 16th and added one more on the short par-4 fourth, her 16th of the day.
"This course reminds me a lot of my home course. I grew up playing a course like this at home, a little tricky and tight from the tees. I really didn't think about winning the tournament but just wanted to play shot-by-shot and make some putts. It worked out well today.
Fanali's win comes on the heels of Alexandra Forsterling's victory at the PING/ASU Invitational. Forsterling, who also played in last week's ANWA, shot a final-round 67 to gain a share of fourth place.
ABOUT THE Silverado Showdown
54-hole women's college tournament co-hosted by
Oregon and Colorado. Team (best four scores out of
five players each round) and individual competitions.
View Complete Tournament Information