Fassi tied for 2nd, Arkansas 4th in tour­ney

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Nate Allen Ra­zor­back Re­port

FAYETTEVIL­LLE — Go­ing into today’s fi­nal round of the

NCAA Women’s Golf Tour­na­ment stroke play at The Bless­ings, Arkansas Ra­zor­backs se­nior Maria Fassi with a 72-71 stands tied for sec­ond with Ari­zona’s Bianca Pag­dan­ganan at 2-un­der par 143 af­ter 36 holes of the 72-hole to short­ened by Satur­day omi­nously in­clement weather to a 54-hole tour­na­ment led in­di­vid­u­ally by Florida’s Sierra Brooks, 3-un­der par 142 shoot­ing 75 and 67.

Team-wise, with the top eight teams of the 24 teams as­sem­bled ad­vanc­ing from the today’s stroke play fin­ish to match play Tues­day and Wed­nes­day de­ter­min­ing the na­tional cham­pion, Coach Shauna Tay­lor’s Ra­zor­backs stand at 598 14-over part tied for fourth with Ari­zona.

Duke leads at 586

2-over par with Southern California, sec­ond, 595, 11-over par, and Texas, third, 596 12-over par.

Arkansas, whose play Satur­day morn­ing start was in­ter­rupted by the early Satur­day af­ter­noon bad weather wash­ing out the sched­uled Satur­day af­ter­noon starters, was among the teams com­plet­ing their sec­ond round Sun­day morn­ing be­fore the Satur­day af­ter­noon’s starters com­pleted their round Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The other Arkansas scores were Kaylee

Ben­ton, 74-73, 147; Brooke Matthews, 76-76, 152; and Dy­lan Kim, 80-83 162.

“You know, we’re just try­ing to win the day,” Tay­lor said of stay­ing top eight and mak­ing it to match play. “We’re just try­ing to take it day by day. This is a de­mand­ing golf course for us. It’s chal­leng­ing just try­ing to get our girls re­cov­ered and in a po­si­tion to go out to­mor­row and try to win that day. If we do that we’ll be in a good po­si­tion.”

Re­gard­ing Fassi vs. Brooks, Tay­lor said,

“Yeah, Sierra is a fan­tas­tic player. Her and Maria are bud­dies, so I’m not sur­prised that they could feed off each other. When you see good golf shots, it some­times breeds good golf shots from oth­ers. It’s a great pair­ing.”

Fassi sal­vaged her prime po­si­tion by eagling the Par 5 Hole 7 af­ter 3-putting on Hole 5.

“You can never count Maria Fassi out,” Tay­lor said. “She has so much game. She hit a 6-iron into 7 to 20 feet and made it for ea­gle. Then 8’s play­ing tough today, swirling in that canyon on the par 3. She had a nice … at

9. I think she’s al­ways in the game. She’s in a good place, she’s hit­ting it well and ob­vi­ously she knows the golf course, knows when she can be ag­gres­sive and when she needs to

throt­tle it back.”

Fassi rel­ished her re­cov­ery.

“No. 7 was a get­table

Par 5,” Fassi said. “I knew I was go­ing to have an iron in and luck­ily I hit it close and that putt I was able to make it. Of course I was pretty ex­cited about that ea­gle that got me back to even for the day. I had

good looks on 8 and 9 and weren’t able to make them but it was a pretty good fin­ish and I’m ex­cited about what’s com­ing to­mor­row.”

Hav­ing to pick up Sun­day where she left off Satur­day didn’t faze her.

“I think it was the same for every­one,” Fassi said. “We can’t do any­thing about it. It’s out­side of our con­trol and we just have to come out today with seven holes to fin­ish and kind of had to do what I had to do. I ac­tu­ally en­joyed hav­ing

just to play seven holes today. I’m not tired. So it will be nice to save our legs for to­mor­row and hope­fully for match play on Tues­day.”

SEC cham­pion/sec Player of the Year Fassi was asked if striv­ing for the NCAA in­di­vid­ual ti­tle brought her back to Arkansas for her se­nior year in­stead of turn­ing pro off her SEC Player of the Year honor in 2018 when Arkansas won the SEC team ti­tle.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing,”

Fassi said of con­tend­ing for the ti­tle. “But again I’m most fo­cused on help­ing the team. I know a low round of course is go­ing to help me with the in­di­vid­ual ti­tle but it’s go­ing to help the team as well make it to match play. We’re play­ing good golf and re­ally ex­cited to see what to­mor­row brings and hope­fully we get to play on Tues­day. Match play is a dif­fer­ent beast and I hope we get to play in it.”

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