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By: CUBuffs.com
Women's Golf Wins Clover Cup, Wallace Medalist
Release: March 18, 2012
By: Curtis Snyder, Associate SID
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MESA, Ariz.-With three weather delays including one because of hail, the No. 15 University of Colorado women's golf team kept its composure and put the wraps on the most dominating performance in school history Sunday here at the 2012 Clover Cup. The Buffs finished with the top three players on the leader board and shot a final round 9-over par 297 to win by 31 strokes.

"The weather was miserable," Kelly said. "It was in the 40s all day, the wind chill had to be much lower than that, and it was raining and breezy all day. We had three delays. It was just a long day. But it was definitely a good day, too."

For the first time in school history, the Buffs finished 1-2-3 in the final individual standings with senior Jess Wallace edging out sophomore Alex Stewart and senior Emily Talley for medalist honors. Sophomore Jenny Coleman gave the Buffs four of the top six in the final standings while the biggest move of the day was from sophomore Kristin Coleman, who moved up from 32nd and finished just one stroke short of a top 20 finish.

"My only stress today was that I wanted all of them to win," Kelly said. "I wanted them all to tie for first."

The Buffs shot a final round 9-over par 297 to finish the event at 9-under par 855. No. 26 Oklahoma was second at 22-over par 886 after a final round 17-over 305. No. 35 Tulsa shot a final round 18-over 306 to finish at 28-over 892 while No. 28 Texas Tech (40-over 904) edged out host Notre Dame (41-over 905) for fourth place by one stroke.

"There were a lot of firsts for me this week, too," Kelly said, who is in her 15th season as CU's coach. "We've never really been in the position of being in this big of a lead before. It's really an honor to coach this team, they're all very special. Brent (Franklin) gets coach of the day. He was on No. 8 helping with the tee shots and they all birdied that hole. He's done such a great job, he's working hard with these girls and it's paying off."

The Buffs win their eighth tournament in school history, easily by the biggest margin. CU won the 2010 Heather Farr Memorial by 16 strokes, which was the school record by 12 strokes. The 31 stroke win is almost double the previous biggest margin and 27 strokes more than the other six victories in school history.

"I think we've played the three best tournaments in the history of this program," Kelly said of the Buffs performance here, in its win at the Edean Ihlandfelt Invitational in the fall and the Buffs second place finish at the Sugar Bowl last month. "Hopefully we'll get a few more."

Colorado shot the best team round in the field in each of the three rounds, by 11 strokes in each of the first and second rounds and by six strokes in the final round, despite the weather causing scores to balloon a bit. The 9-under par final is the second lowest 54-hole team total in school history, three strokes behind the Buffs final score of 852 at the 2008 Ptarmigan Ram Classic, where weather was not a factor.

"The thing I liked today, "Kelly said. "It's not easy playing with the lead. We had the low round every day, and that speaks volumes to what this team is all about. This tournament also allowed our team to get used to making birdies. That's one area we do need to improve, making birdies and converting those opportunities. It gave everybody on this team great experience.

Wallace's win is the seventh such honor in CU history and it's the first time CU has had the individual winner in back-to-back events, teaming with Alex Stewart's win at the Sugar Bowl a few weeks ago. Wallace won her second career event and joined Hannah Hoch (2004-07) as the only player in CU history to win more than one event in a career. Wallace now has seven career top five finishes and 11 career top 10 finishes, tied for second most in CU history and 12 career top 20 finishes. After working on some changes in her swing in the fall, she is returning to the form she had last season. Prior to this event, she did not have a top 20 finish this season.

"I knew the weather was going to be bad before we got out there," Wallace said. "We were warming up in freezing cold rain, the course was starting to flood before we even started. We had two weather delays. It was the type of day where you just grind it out, try to get pars and hopefully a few birdies."

Wallace was one of just three golfers in the field to shoot even par in the final round with the weather and finished out at 5-under 211, her career best total and tying the fourth-best total in school history. She finished her round with three birdies and three bogeys and each time she had a bogey, she responded with a birdie to get back to even par. She started on the second hole and bogeyed No. 5 and then got a birdie on No. 8, she responded quicker each time, as she bogeyed No. 11 and birdied No. 13, then bogeyed No. 14 and birdied No. 15. She pared out her final four holes to hold on for the win, having to close out on two of the four par 5 holes on the course, first No. 18 and then her final hole, No. 1.

"Jess played a very stead round of golf," Kelly said. "She's been close all semester and it's nice to see her put it all together."

"I didn't really have a number in mind," Wallace said of her round. "It was really cold, then the wind picked up, then it hailed and we stopped three times. You had to stay in the moment with the delays, stay focused and not think about the outcome."

Stewart, who was tied with Wallace in third place entering the day, finished second after a final round 2-over par 74 and finished at 3-under par 213, matching the sixth best mark in CU history. She had five bogeys and three birdies in her final round, shooting even par on the front nine and 2-over on the back nine. She birdied the par 4 No. 17 for the third straight round, this time to secure her runner-up finish.

"I'm proud of Jess, it's good for her," Stewart said. "Of course I'm always out there to win, too. It feels awesome having the top three and winning by 30 strokes as a team, it's pretty cool."

Stewart recorded her second consecutive top 5 finish, a feat only accomplished four other times at CU. It's her third top five finish this season, tied for third most in CU history.

"Alex is such a good competitor," Kelly said. "She's one of the smartest players I've ever watched, just a very impressive player."

Talley, who led through the second round, finished her final round at 5-over par 77 to finish at 1-under par 215, tied for the 12th best performance in program history, and she was in sole possession of third place. She struggled at the start of her round, getting a triple bogey on her first hole and then three straight bogeys on hole Nos. 4-6 before responding. The rest of her round she shot 1-under with two birdies and a bogey. It matches her second best career finish and is her seventh career top five finish, her 18th career top 10 and 28th career top 20, the latter two school records.

"I felt bad for Emily and her start," Kelly said. "I know how much she wants to win a college tournament, and she still has some opportunities. To her credit today, she showed her heart and what she's all about for the benefit of the team. She turned it around and was under par her last 12 holes."

"The weather wasn't fantastic," Talley said. "I was cold and had too many layers on. I didn't do anything wonderful the first six holes, but then I turned it around. I had to get over some mental hurdles, but the last 12 were much better. Too bad I didn't start my round off like that."

Both Talley and Wallace recorded their seventh career top five finish and both are now one behind the school record held by Erin Kerr, who had eight from 2000-03.

Jenny Coleman shot a final round 6-over par 78 and stayed in the same spot she began the day, in a tie for sixth place. She had a bit of a roller coaster start to her round, shooting two birdies, a par, bogey, double bogey and triple bogey in her first six holes of the round. She was 7-over through her first 10 holes of the round and then played her final eight holes at 1-under with two birdies and a bogey and she pared out her final three holes to hand on to sixth place. It's the second best finish of her career and third career top 10 performance.

"To her credit," Kelly said. "Jenny probably had her best chance to win a tournament today. You have to be there a few times to get used to it. She didn't have a great start but she also brought it back. All five of these players are competitors, they do what it takes."

Making the most movement in the final round was Kristin Coleman, who shot a 2-over par 74 and finished at 11-over par 227. She moved up 10 spots in a tie for 32nd to a tie for 22nd, just one stroke out of the top 20. She had a solid round from start to finish and after her only double bogey on the par 3 No. 11, her eighth hole of the day, she played the final 10 holes at 1-under par with two birdies and a bogey.

"I was really happy for Kristin today," Kelly said. "Like I've been saying lately, she's close to breaking through. It was a good round, and even better given the tough conditions."

While it wasn't the same level of opponents the Buffs have faced in their last three tournaments, each ranked in the top 10 best fields in the country this year, it was still a strong field with five of the top 35 teams nationally in the field.

"It wasn't the hardest field we've played against this year," Kelly said. "But it wasn't an easy field. There were good teams here. I'm just impressed with how we played. I know they're great players, but they played great golf. They played smart, his some great shots. It's fun to watch."

"It' gives us confidence," Talley said. "We know this field wasn't as strong as the last few were. We expected to do what we did, it was just nice to see that there was no question about it, and we went out and did it."

"I think it solidifies what we already believe in ourselves," Wallace said. "We showed it at the Sugar Bowl, too, that we can compete with any team and go low when we need to. It's a good confidence booster going to Hawai'i and then getting ready for Pac-12's."

The Buffs will head to Maui, Hawai'i for the Anuenue Spring Break Challenge, which will kick off Monday, March 26 and conclude the next day. After that the Buffs head to the postseason first with the Pac-12 Championships, hosted by Washington State April 27-29. CU then hosts the NCAA West Regional at Colorado National Golf Club, May 10-12.

"Hawaii will be another great field," Kelly said. "Then for the Pac-12's and throughout the postseason, we'll have to convert birdie opportunities like we did this week. This week is a huge confidence boost, winning a tournament by so much. It was a great experience."


BUFFALOES INDIVIDUALS

1.

Jess Wallace

70-69-72-211

2.

Alex Stewart

68-71-74-213

3.

Emily Talley

66-72-77-215

t-6.

Jenny Coleman

73-69-78-220

t-22.

Kristin Coleman

75-78-74-227

TOP 5 INDIVIDUALS

1.

Jess Wallace, Colorado

70-69-72-211

2.

Alex Stewart, Colorado

68-71-74-213

3.

Emily Talley, Colorado

66-72-77-215

t-4.

Kristina Merkle, Tulsa

68-70-79-217

t-4.

Chirapat Jao-Janavil, Oklahoma

71-71-75-217

TEAM STANDINGS

1.

Colorado

277-281-297-855

2.

Oklahoma

289-293-305-886

3.

Tulsa

294-292-306-892

4.

Texas Tech

296-303-305-904

5.

Notre Dame

288-296-321-905

6.

Minnesota

293-307-308-908

7.

Florida International

292-307-310-909

t-8.

Iowa State

295-304-316-915

t-8.

Furman

292-320-303-915

10.

Michigan

306-316-310-932

11.

SMU

302-331-319-952

12.

Cincinnati

323-318-319-960

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