Chou’s clutch birdie helps Jayhawks tie for fifth in Hawkeye-El Tigre Invitational
Hawkeye-El Tigre Invitational
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – With one hole to go, the Kansas women’s golf team was in sixth place down one stroke to Cal State Fullerton. Like she did in the final round of the Westbrook Spring Invitational, freshman Yi-Tsen Chou fired in a birdie on her last hole to help Kansas earn a top-5 finish with a tie for fifth place at the inaugural Hawkeye-El Tigre Invitational.
Chou, Kansas’ top finisher, shot even par on the day to end the event tied for 12th. The Taiwan native fired five birdies in the third round, to end the 54-hole tournament with 12 birdies.
“Yi-Tsen had another solid tournament for us and was a few shots from a top-five finish,” head coach Erin O’Neil said. “She is hitting the ball well and is getting better in her decision making on the course.”
Finishing only two strokes behind Chou was Chomchana Phuchanbanchob, who shot six-over. Phuchanbanchob shot a three-over 75 in the third round, and finished in 23rd place.
Tying for 46th place were sophomores Ariadna Fonseca Diaz and Victoria Chandra, who both ended the tournament at 15-over. Fonseca Diaz and Chandra both struggled in the third round, shooting in the 80s. Between the two of them, the pair shot five birdies on the final day.
Junior Pitsinee Winyarat continued to improve from her first round 82, shooting a third round 75, a six shot improvement over the week. Winyarat finished tied for 52nd.
The Jayhawk who showed the most improvement over the event was individual competitor Xinyun Yu. Yu started slow, carding a first round 85, but steadily improved to shoot a 75 in the third round, a 10-stroke improvement to help her finish in a tie for 65th place.
As a team, KU shot an 898 (+34) over the course of the 54-hole event. Kansas’ 898 score is its first sub-900 score since the team shot an 865 en route to a second-place finish at the Westbrook Spring Invitational February 26-27.
“We are a young team so we have our ups and downs, but we definitely played with more consistency this tournament,” O’Neil said. “Our focus from the beginning of the year has been to get better every day and I think it is starting to pay off. Success does not happen overnight and we need to continue to focus on taking care of details in our control.”
Washington (+9) won the Hawkeye El-Tigre Invitational, followed by UTSA (+10), Wisconsin (+15) and Kennesaw State (+32).
The Jayhawks next test comes April 10-11 when they travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma to compete in the Dale McNamara Invitational.
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