ECU's Dorthea Forbrigd takes second at American Championship, Pirates tie for second in team race

(WITN)
Published: Apr. 17, 2018 at 4:32 PM EDT
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PALM COAST, FLA. – No. 23 Houston collected its second American Athletic Conference Women’s Golf Championship in three years, firing a blistering 11-under par team round of 277 to capture the team title. Wichita State’s Taryn Torgerson set a conference record with her final round 64, winning the conference individual crown with a birdie on the first playoff hole.

Scoring conditions were ideal on the 6,276-yard, par-72 layout on the Conservatory Course at the Hammock Beach Resort, with Tuesday’s final round playing to an average score 4.7 strokes lower than Monday.

Going out in the fourth pairing of the day, Torgerson went out in 32, alternating pars and birdies over her first nine holes. On the back, Torgerson was at 5-under par heading to the par-4 16th. After driving into the fairway, Torgerson’s second hit the pin and dropped for an eagle, moving the senior to 7-under on the day. A birdie at the par-5 18th gave her an 8-under 64 and the clubhouse lead at 5-under par for the championship (70-77-64).

Torgerson’s 64 is tied for fourth-lowest round in the NCAA Division I this season.

While Torgerson was waiting behind the green, ECU’s Dorthea Forbrigd mounted a late rally, collecting birdies at 16 and 17 before rolling in a clutch five-foot birdie putt at 18 to reach 5-under par for her round and the championship (74-70-67). The overnight leader played the first nine at even par before closing in 31.

Both Torgerson and Forbrigd found the fairway with their shots to open the playoff; after Forbrigd’s second found the water, she was lying four on the green from eight feet, forcing Torgerson to make a birdie to clinch the title. The senior calmly knocked in her nine-footer, making birdie for the second time on 18 and claiming her third overall title of the season.

Prior to the playoff, No. 23 Houston blistered the Conservatory Course, setting a conference championship record for the single-day low team round. Four Cougars played rounds at even par or better, led by Leonie Harm’s 5-under 67, which placed her into fourth.

Harm was one of three Cougars finishing in the top 10; senior Megan Thothong recorded her third consecutive top 10 finish at the American Championship, taking third after a closing 68 left her 3-under par for the championship. Courtney Tibiletti’s 2-under 70 put her into seventh place, 3-over par overall.

Houston led wire-to-wire, finishing at 6-over par for the championship (291-302-277). The championship gave the Cougars its second title after beginning its program in 2013. The Coogs first competed as a team at the American Women’s Golf Championship in 2015.

No. 47 ECU and UCF tied for second, each firing under-par team scores to climb the leaderboard. Led by Forbrigd’s 67, the Pirates put up a 3-under round of 285. Carley Cox reached 5-under par after 10 holes before coming in at 2-under 70, while Lisa Pettersson joined the group at par or better with an even-par 72.

The Knights were 2-under for the day, led by the duo of Kaeli Jones and Maria Balcazar. Jones played her final six holes at 2-under to close with a 3-under 69 in the final round. At 1-under for the championship, Jones took fifth place. Balcazar finished eighth overall, coming in with a 2-under 70 on Tuesday to finish at 4-over.

Memphis’ fourth-place finish was the program’s best in The American Championship since the 2013 season, when the Tigers also took fourth. Emily Goldenstein’s 2-under 70 put her into sixth place for the tournament, 1-over across the three rounds. Teammate Sydney Colwill joined her in the top 10, finishing in a tie for ninth after a 71 moved her to 5-over par for the championship.

Wichita State’s Laine Evans rounded out the top 10, climbing seven spots after a third-round 69 put her into a tie for ninth. As a team, the Shockers finished fifth after a team round of 1-under 287.

Cincinnati and SMU both jumped up the leaderboard on Tuesday, with the Bearcats taking sixth after a round of 290. SMU was the fifth American team under par in the final round, firing a 286 to move into a tie for seventh with Tulane.

USF’s round was highlighted by Nani Merchan’s hole-in-one on her eighth hole of the day, the 145-yard par 3 17th.

Teams and individuals will learn their NCAA Championship destinations on Wednesday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. Seventy-two teams and 24 individuals will be chosen for the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, which will culminate at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., May 18-23.