On an uncomfortable day, the LSU women’s golfers looked awfully comfortable on Tulane’s home course.
Handling the cold temperature and shifting winds better than anyone else, the Tigers ran away from a loaded field Tuesday in the final round of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate Golf Championship at English Turn Golf & Country Club. The event could not have ended better for LSU, which won the team competition by 12 strokes and had two players share medalist honors.
Caroline Nistrup birdied three of the last four holes, including the 18th, tying teammate Madelene Sagstrom for first place with a 4-under-par 212 in the three-day tournament. The duo roomed together while the Tigers stayed in New Orleans, then shared a spot on top of the leaderboard.
“We’re getting very confident with our game,” Sagstrom said. “We’re just going out, having fun and not worrying about it. We played great. I am so proud of my team stepping it up on a day like this.”
LSU, which had a one-stroke lead on Tulane and defending champion UCLA entering the final round, ended any suspense by shooting a 2-under 286, the lowest round of the day. The 16th-ranked Tigers finished at 10-over 874, capturing their second title in their past three events, with a second-place finish in between those two.
UCLA and Florida tied for second at 886.
Sagstrom and Nistrup, the co-leaders after Monday, each carded a 71. It was the second tournament title for Sagstrom and the first for Nistrup.
“I had no idea what the situation was when I birdied the last hole,” Nistrup said. “I just wanted to finish off strong. I’ve come close a couple of times, so it feels very good to finally win.”
LSU’s Elise Bradley tied for the low round of the day with a 70, bouncing back from an 83 on Monday.
“Our focus was just to go out there and play golf and not get wrapped up in winning,” LSU coach Karen Bahnsen said. “I could tell in their eyes they were in the right mindset, and they went out and just played tough golf all day long.”
It was a rough day for Tulane, which fell out of contention quickly after getting into position to win its home tournament for the first time after two rounds. One stroke off the lead entering the day, the 31st-ranked Green Wave struggled off the tee, in the fairway, with its short game, and on the green.
After six holes, Tulane had the worst final-round score in the 15-team field. The Wave recovered a bit to shoot 303, tying Arizona for fourth place with a three-round total of 892, 18 shots behind LSU.
Finishing among the top five in a field with six top-20 teams provided little consolation for coach Lorne Don.
“We did beat some very good teams this week, and that’s great, but with the expectations that we set for ourselves, we wanted to be a little bit better than that,” he said. “We maybe tried to do too much.”
Emily Penttila’s round typified the team’s struggles. One stroke off the individual lead after two days, she ballooned to a 79 and fell into a tie for seventh with a 221 total.
On the par-4 ninth, she hit a sand shot past the hole to the edge of the green, then stuffed her club into her bag angrily. Although she made the putt coming back to save par, it was part of a birdie-free, seven-bogey day.
“I made a lot of bad decisions today,” she said. “I was trying to play aggressive, but I was aggressive in the wrong spots. I can speak for the whole team when I say we’re really disappointed. We didn’t play even close to our normal level.”
Tulane’s Silvia Garces finished one shot behind Penttila at 222, struggling to a 77 on Tuesday. Madison Opfer’s team-best 73 moved her into a tie for 27th. Gemma Dryburgh, coming off a third-place finish at the UCF Challenge, shot an 80 in the opening round and wound up 15-over at 231.