BERKELEY – California freshman Lucia Gutierrez (Lima, Peru) became the first Peruvian woman to win the individual title after claiming first at the prestigious South American Women’s Amateur Championship last weekend at the Barranquilla Country Club in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Gutierrez, who last month claimed bronze individually and as a member of the Peruvian national team at the “Copa los Andes” in Bogota, shot a 72-hole 300 (77-79-72-72, +12) to claim the championship in her fifth overall appearance at the South American Women’s Amateur Championship.
“It’s a really good time (to play well),” Gutierrez said. “Since I got to Cal I’ve been playing really good golf. I’m excited about the season too. We’re going to start soon and I’m excited. We already started qualifying for the tournaments, and I can’t wait for the spring season to begin.”
Playing in windy conditions at the par-72 course, Gutierrez returned the trophy to South American soil with a climactic final round. Entering the tournament with a previous-best finish of 15th, Gutierrez shot 156 (+12) through the first two rounds. The Golden Bear freshman settled down to shoot even par in the third round and took over the top of the leaderboard with a birdie on the 15th hole.
Bogey’s on the 16th and 17th put her onto equal footing with Scottish golfer Gemma Dryburgh of Tulane with one hole remaining in the championship – the par-5 18th. Playing composed, Gutierrez hit a birdie to claim the championship.
"Winning this tournament was something I wanted with all my heart and it feels good, very good,” Gutierrez said after her final round. “The course was really windy. I managed to keep myself centered all the time. I hit the ball really, stayed in the middle and made good putts. My long game definitely was the best aspect of my game (throughout the tournament). You had to take a lot into consideration because of the wind. You had to think about your approaches, and I made the changes in the game that helped me.”
The Golden Bears open their spring season at the Peg Barnard Invitational hosted by Stanford from Feb. 14-15. Gutierrez completed the fall season with a 75.2 average in three tournaments, hitting par or better in two of nine rounds with a low round of 70.