By BRAD KEITH
(April 19, 2016) — After a one-year hiatus, No. 6 Tarleton State is back on top of the Lone Star Conference women’s golf world.
The last player on the course for the TexAnns in the final round Tuesday, Casey Wild helped turned what at one time was a three-stroke deficit into a two-stroke victory for Tarleton, which had to fight off an impressive final round by reigning champ Midwestern State.
Tarleton, the No. 1 team in the West Region, finished in 592 strokes (+24), MSU in 594 (+26). West Texas A&M was another four strokes back at 598 (+30).
Wild bounced back from bogeys at the par-5 11th and the par-3 12th with consecutive pars on 13 and 14 then a birdie on the par-5 15th. She finished with three straight pars to ensure the LSC Championship trophy would be coming back to Stephenville for the eighth time in nine years.
Tarleton won seven straight championships from 2008-14, before MSU won the LSC tournament last year. The 2016 title is the ninth overall for Tarleton, which won its first back in 2003. All of those championships have come under head coach Jerry Doyle, who on Monday was presented his record ninth LSC Coach of the Year honor.
Wild and teammate Beatriz Prados each tied for second on the player leaderboard, firing identical scores of 74 Monday and 72 Tuesday to finish at 4-over par 146 on the par-71 La Paloma Course at Tascosa Golf Club in Amarillo.
Isabel Jimenez-Perea, who on Monday evening became the only player in conference history to win four LSC Women’s Golfer of the Year awards, shot 75-74 and finished seventh at 7-over par 149. Sarah Gee was 12th, going 75-76 for a total of 9-over 151. Kerbey Kipp didn’t affect the team card either day, going 83-80 for 163 and tying for 26th.
The TexAnns finished strong, and needed every bit of it thanks to the hard charge by Midwestern. Likely needing to win the tournament and claim the automatic bid to advance to the NCAA West Regional, MSU gave it every effort.
The Mustangs carded a 306 and trailed Tarleton (298) and West Texas A&M (299) after round one. But Hailey Dambold recorded six birdies to offset four bogeys, three of her birdies coming on the final four holes to shoot one-under. Sierra Campbell was just as impressive, finishing par-par-eagle-par-birdie-birdie to go four under on the final six holes and one-under for the day. Dambold and Campbell each shot 77 on Monday and finished tied for fifth at five-over 147.
Tarleton answered the late Mustang charge with a strong final six holes of its own. Prados was two under on the final six, while Wild went one-under, and Jimenez-Perea even, and Gee were each even during that stretch. Gee actually finished with eight consecutive pars after double bogeys on the seventh and eighth and a bogey on the 10th.
Whitlee Woods of West Texas A&M won the individual title at 2-over par 144. She opened with a round of 71 and closed with a 73. Glory Jangthongsiri of WTAMU joined Tarleton’s Prados and Wild in a tie for second with a two-round total of five-over 146.
The Lady Buffs didn’t fall off any, going 15-over par in each round, but they could never totally answer the charges by Tarleton and MSU down the stretch. There was a clear drop off behind WTAMU, with TAMUC going +51, Angelo State +57, Cameron +71 and Texas A&M-Kingsville +114.
The tournament was a grind for everyone with last-minute changes due to weather. It was originally scheduled for Frisco, but heavy rains forced the move to Amarillo, some 350 miles away.
Tarleton will be defending its last two regional titles at Brookside Country Club in Stockton, California May 1-4. The TexAnns have advanced from regionals to the NCAA Division II Championship each of the last nine years, finishing as high as third nationally.