Fassi tied for 2nd, Arkansas 4th in tourney
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.”