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Women’s golf places third in Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge

Graduate student Beth Lillie secured second place with three consecutive under par rounds.

<p>Graduate student Beth Lillie led the way for the Cavaliers at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge.</p>

Graduate student Beth Lillie led the way for the Cavaliers at the Northrup Grumman Regional Challenge.

After its second place finish in the Moon Golf Invitational in late February, the No. 6 Virginia women’s golf team finished third in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge, a three-day tournament at Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. The Cavaliers shot a 12-over 864 including a four-under 280 in the second round, to end 16 strokes behind Oregon — the only team to finish under par Tuesday.

Virginia’s first round one-over 287 put them in second place – tied with Oregon and only one stroke behind Kent State. Senior Riley Smyth led the Cavaliers with a two-under 69 that included five birdies.

Virginia kept this second place position through day two with an impressive 4-under 280. Three Cavaliers including Lillie, Smyth and junior Jennifer Cleary would enter the closing round tied for second place at 140. Lillie and Cleary shot two-under rounds of 69 and Smyth shot even par during their second rounds.

Lillie led Virginia and put up her best score of the tournament in the final round with a three-under 68 to finish as runner up for the second consecutive tournament, but the team ended up falling to third place overall behind Oregon and Wake Forest after carding a 13-over closing round.

The Cavaliers led the tournament in birdies with a total of 51, which was eight more than the second highest team. Lillie helped make this happen playing six-under on the par fours with an average score of 3.82 for the tournament.

Cleary ended six strokes behind Lillie in sixth place, finishing with a one-over 214 following a three-over third round. She tied her best single round score with her three-under 69 in the second round. Smyth shot a 10-over 223 to finish tied for 43rd, and freshman Amanda Sambach and junior Celeste Valinho tied for 52nd and 54th, respectively.

Wake Forest junior Rachel Kuehn led the tournament with a 10-under 203 and two rounds of 67.

Next up, Virginia will compete March 25-27 at the Ping ASU Invitational at the Papago Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz.