⛳ Jayhawks Finish Seventh at Dick McGuire Invitational
ALBUQUERQUE – Behind a top-five finish from super-senior Sera Tadokoro, Kansas women’s golf placed seventh in its opening tournament of the 2021-22 season at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational on the UNM Championship Course on Tuesday.
Kansas entered Tuesday’s final round in sixth place and carded a 297 (+9) to finish in seventh with a three-round score of 878 (+14) in the 16-team field. Brigham Young won the team title with an 858 (-6), which was six shots ahead of runner-up San Jose State’s even-par 864.
“The team showed a lot of grit and confidence and proved that they can compete with the nation’s best,” Kansas head coach Lindsay Kuhle said. “We accomplished our team goal of a top-seven finish this week with six teams returning in this event that finished the season ranked in the top 50 in Golfstat.”
Tadakoro recorded three birdies in Tuesday’s final round and shot a 2-under 70, vaulting from 10th place to finishing fifth in the 93-golfer field. The Osaka, Japan, native had a combined 10 birdies in her three rounds and ended with a 4-under 212 for the event. It was Tadakoro’s third top-five finish in her KU career and her highest placing since winning the Louisville Cardinal Cup in Oct. 2019.
“I am so happy for Sera and her strong finish today of 70,” Kuhle said. “She fought the entire tournament and this is her second college tournament shooting under par all three rounds.”
In the debut of her college career, freshman Jordan Rothman placed tied for 16th with a three-round 218 (+2). Included was a 4-under 68 for Monday’s second round. KU senior Lauren Heinlein had a sub-par round on Monday, shooting a 71 (-1) in the afternoon and ended the event with a 225 (+9). Fellow senior Pear Pooratanaopa was one shot behind Heinlein at 226, while sophomore Hanna Hawks had an eagle-three on the par 5 ninth hole. Pepperdine’s Kaleiya Romero and BYU’s Lila Galeai tied for first with a three-round 206 (-10) and Romero won on the first playoff hole.
“We are a very solid team off the tee and make a lot of pars and we give ourselves a lot of looks for birdies,” Kuhle said. “We will continue to work on our games inside 80 yards and putting to have more two-putts and convert birdie opportunities. The more we can strengthen that all season the more we will continue to put ourselves in contention to win.”
Kansas will play its second tournament of the fall at the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational, Sept. 20-21, at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kansas. The event is named after KU alum and LPGA co-founder Marilynn Smith and KU has won the event seven times including 2007 and 2013 at Colbert Hills. KU also won in 1997, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012.