WINDSOR, Colo. – California started the 2013-14 season off on the right foot with a nine-stroke victory at the Ptarmigan Ram Classic Tuesday following a final round 286 at the Ptarmigan Country Club in Windsor, Colo.
Junior Nicola Rössler and sophomore Carly Childs both posted final rounds under par to help Cal push away from the pack after leading by four strokes heading into the final round. Rössler finished second overall at 3-under (73-71-69=213) with her final round 69 matching her career collegiate best that she last set at the 2010 Mason Randolph Invitational. Rössler opened the final round with six birdies in her first 10 holes and battled for individual medalist honors until the final hole with UNLV’s Dana Finkelstein.
“I feel really good for this team,” California head coach Nancy McDaniel said. “They showed a lot of resilience on the course. They came in averaging at least four birdies per player this last round. We had two under-par rounds including Nicola’s in the 60’s. She showed what she can do and has more of that inside and so do the rest of them.”
Childs had the best tournament of her young career to finish 1-under at 73-72-70=215. She shot five birdies in the final round Tuesday to place fourth overall, giving the sophomore collegiate bests in individual placement, low 54-hole score and low 18-hole score. She and Rössler were two of only 12 golfers whose scores decreased with each round of the two-day tournament.
“Carly has worked really hard to get those scores going on the course,” McDaniel said. “Being able to get under par sometimes is a bit of a hurdle, and she showed her true colors in the last two rounds where she was super focused and started to hit a lot of greens. If the putter had been really going, we would have seen even lower scores from her.”
After Monday’s second round was delayed due to weather, the Bears quickly came out Tuesday morning to continue to gain separation between themselves and the rest of the field. By the time every team finished their final second round holes by mid-morning, the Bears moved from a one-stroke lead at +10 over second-place New Mexico to a four-stroke lead at +11 (587) over then-second place Colorado.
As they third round continued and moved on, the Bears quickly gained separation with Rössler and Childs routinely knocking down biridies on the course along with junior Morgan Thompson, who hit five birdies in her 1-over final round 73. Sophomore Hannah Suh placed 12th individually with a 4-over 220 (70-76-74) while Thompson tied for 24th at 9-over (75-77-73=225). Sophomore Roberta Röller was shooting two-over on the day before being derailed by a pair of triple-bogeys and finished with an 80-80-80=240 (+24).
“(The delay from Monday into Tuesday) was somewhat fortunate in a way by how they finished the first round pretty well,” McDaniel said. “We saw a few birdies in those first three holes, which got us going, and the momentum carried us through into the final round. We had a good energy flow. It’s hard to believe that in golf because we’re in different groups, but they had the positive energy flowing and that makes a big difference.”
The Bears next hit the course at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational from Oct. 7-8 in Sahalee, Wash.
COURSE: Ptarmigan Country Club (par 72; 6,352 yards)