For the first two days at the Vanderbilt Legends Club, Mississippi State watched as Arizona and Vanderbilt took turns occupying the top of the leaderboard at the Mason Rudolph Championships in Franklin, Tenn.
The Bulldogs didn't do anything to shoot themselves out of the tournament, mind you, but facing a six-shot deficit entering Sunday's final round, head coach Charlie Ewing knew his team would need a strong finish and maybe a little help if they were going to pull a rabbit out of the hat and overtake Vanderbilt and Arizona.
Well, the Bulldogs got a little of both and then some.
Julia Lopez Ramirez and Izzy Pellot combined to play the last five holes at 6-under par which left the Bulldogs 7-under for the day at 19-under for the tournament, which was good for a four-stroke win over Arizona and five over Vanderbilt.
Ramirez was just 1-under on the day through 13 holes but played the last five holes in 5-under to single handily deliver the Bulldogs the title. The sophomore from Malaga, Spain eagled the par-5 14th hole and after a par on the 15th, finished her round with three consecutive birdies to deliver the Bulldogs the title.
Mississippi State also benefitted from a 1-under 71 from senior Hannah Levi and even par rounds of 72 from Ashley Gilliam and Pellot, who made a key birdie on the par-4 17th hole.
With Ramirez and Pellot combining to play the last five holes at 6-under, Vanderbilt and Arizona couldn't find the same magic they carried for the first two days of the tournament.
"This was such a fun battle with Arizona and Vanderbilt down the stretch today," said Mississippi State head coach Charlie Ewing. "Those are two fantastic, well-coached programs with a ton of talent. I could not be more excited of this team. I am so proud. They started the week with a strong intent to just do their jobs. Each one of them was focused on not only the team, but themselves and the standards we hold ourselves to. They trusted that it would be enough."
The Commodores fell to third place after a final round 292 (+4), leaving the hostesses at 14-under 850 for the tournament.
The Wildcats, which entered the day two back of the Dores in second place, were stuck in neutral all day but still managed to hang onto their position after a 1-over round of 289 left the 'Cats at 15-under 849 for three days of work.
After a disappointing 9-over first round, LSU played the final 36 holes at 12-under to finish solo fourth at 3-under 861.
Auburn's Megan Schofill claimed medalist honors at 9-under 207, which was good for a two-stroke win over Georgia's Jenny Bae and Dorota Zalewska of Chattanooga.
"So proud of Megan and her very consistent play this weekend," said Auburn head coach Melissa Luellen about the individual champion. "She went 43 holes without a bogey. I love to see talented players work hard and reap the benefits."
ABOUT THE Mason Rudolph Women's Championship
54-hole women's college event hosted by
Vanderbilt University. Team (best four scores out of
players each round) and individual competitions.
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