Wake Forest starts the spring season on a high note by winning the UCF Challenge
Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics
Wake Forest and Anna Nordfors of Central Florida turned in impressive performances on the way to collecting hardware at the UCF Challenge which wrapped up on Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Fla.
The second-ranked Demon Deacons carded a 42-under score of 822 to win the team title by four strokes over No. 7 Mississippi State while Northwestern, which took a three-stroke lead into the final round, finished third at 37-under 827.
Nordfors claimed medalist honors at 21-under 195 to set a new UCF individual scoring record for a 54-hole event. After firing a school-record 8-under 64 in the first round on Sunday, the native of Gothenburg, Sweden broke her own short-lived record with a 63 in round two. She finished off a wire-to-wire victory by closing with 4-under 68 on Tuesday to earn a two-stroke victory over Julia Lopez Ramirez of Mississippi State.
Wake Forest head coach Kim Lewellen rolled out a familiar lineup consisting of Rachel Kuehn, Lauren Walsh, Emilia Migliaccio, Carolina Lopez-Chaca and Mimi Rhodes who combined to shoot the second-lowest team 54-hole scores in program history. Kuehn (-15) and Walsh (-12) finished third and tied for fourth, respectively, while Lopez-Chacarra tied for 11th at 8-under 208.
It marked the third win of the season for arguably the most talented team in the nation east of Palo Alto, Calif.
"It's great to start the season with a win," said Lewellen. "What we really noticed, which is the theme for this team, is maturity. For the team to be behind the final two days and make a charge at the end to reach their goal shows how much they want it. They understand what needs to be done and can go out and execute."
Lopez-Ramirez, who won the Blessings Intercollegiate earlier this season, capped off a record-setting tournament for Mississippi State with a final-round 67 which left her at 19-under par (197), which marked the lowest individual score in program history, breaking her own record of 16-under par (200) in the 2022 Paradise Invitational.
"She had a phenomenal week, breaking her own 54-hole record and somebody just played a little bit better," said MSU head coach Charlie Ewing, whose team won a pair of tournaments in the fall to climb into the top-10. "We have so much positivity to build off of and we will do just that."
Eagle Creek was a very hospitable host, as all but four squads in the 18-team field managed to break par, while 46 players finished at even par or better.
ABOUT THE UCF Challenge
54-hole stroke play event hosted by the
University of Central Florida women's golf team. Team
(best four scores of five players) and individual
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