Aggie women fill the leaderboard to win Big West golf title

By From page B1 | April 24, 2013

SAN LUIS OBISPO — With Demi Runas leading a UC Davis sweep of the top four individual places, the 16th-ranked Aggies had little competition on their way to their fourth consecutive Big West Women’s Golf Championship.

UCD shot a 4-under 288 in Tuesday’s final round to complete a 29-stroke victory over second-place Long Beach State at the San Luis Obispo Country Club.

Runas finished at 1-under 218, to capture medalist honors, Aggie freshman Andrea Wong (+1) was second, defending individual champion Beverly Vatananugulkit (+4) was third and UCD senior Amy Simanton (+5) placed fourth. Freshman Betty Chen rounded out an impressive Aggie performance, finishing in a tie for 12th at 11-over.

With the fantastic individual performances, UCD posted the largest margin of victory at the conference championship tournament since New Mexico State won the 2000 event by 40 shots. In addition, the Aggies’ three-round total of 5-over 881 is the third-lowest score in the history of the tournament, trailing the record 867 by the 2011 UCD squad and the 871 tallied by New Mexico State in 1999.

“The team had a great under-par round to conclude the tournament,” said first-year Aggie coach Anna Temple. “This really was a team effort with everyone contributing. Winning conference was one of our goals from the beginning of the season and it’s a great accomplishment for our program to have won our fourth consecutive championship. We will take this win in and get right back to work to prepare for the NCAA Regionals.”

Runas, the two-time reigning Big West Player of the Year, is the fourth straight Aggie to claim first place at the Big West Championships, joining Vatananugulkit (2012), Alice Kim (2011) and Chelsea Stelzmiller (2010).

“Winning the Big West for the fourth straight year means so much to both Amy and I,” said Runas, the 13th-ranked college golfer in the nation by Golfstat. “Looking back over the last four seasons, it’s really amazing to see how much the program has grown. We wanted to keep building on the successes of players before us, and now we’ve established ourselves as a top program in the country.

“Taking the individual title my senior year is more than I could ask for in terms of capping off the season, but what’s more rewarding for me is to see the other girls taking top honors as well.”

UCD owned a 16-shot lead entering the final day but used a 2-under 70 from Simanton, a 72 from Wong, and rounds of 73 from Runas and Vatananugulkit to shoot 4-under for the day. Chen, in her first Big West appearance, had a 77 on Tuesday.

The tournament championship was the 14th in the six-year history of the Aggie program and the first this year. With the win, UCD gets an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships, where it will be making a team appearance for the fifth time.

The Aggies will open postseason play on May 5-7 at one of three regional sites. The West Regional will be contested at Stanford Golf Course.

Enterprise staff

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