After coming in third place at the Annika Intercollegiate with an impeccable performance by sophomore Amanda Sambach, Virginia women’s golf continued the impressive play with another third-place finish at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate.
Played at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville, Tenn., the tournament took place Monday and Tuesday against a 14-team field including Augusta, BYU, Chattanooga, Kent State, Maryland, Mercer, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Tennessee, UCF, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
The Cavaliers’ lineup consisted of the same five players from the Annika tournament — Sambach, sophomore Megan Propeck, junior Jennifer Cleary, senior Celeste Valinho and graduate student Riley Smyth.
On the opening day of the tournament, teams played 36 holes. The Cavaliers finished in first place at the end of the day after posting rounds of 7-under and 8-under on the par 71 course. Cleary placed in fourth individually after shooting rounds of 67 and 68. Sambach shot rounds of 67 and 69 and finished in fifth place, one stroke behind her teammate.
In total on the first day, the Virginia players had 40 birdies, including 11 by Cleary and nine from both Sambach and Valinho. Cleary and Valinho both matched their low single-round as Cavaliers and helped push Virginia to the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day.
During Tuesday’s final round, Virginia shot 1-under 283 for third place overall. Wake Forest finished in first at 831.
The Cavaliers total score was 16-under 836, which was the third-best single-round score in comparison to par in the Virginia program.
The team had the best average score in the tournament on par 3s — 2.99 strokes and a total score of 1-under. They also performed well on par 5s, with an average score of 4.80 strokes and a total of 15-under, second only to Wake Forest. Finally, the Cavaliers also had the highest number of birdies at 55 for the tournament.
Three Virginia players ended the tournament with top-10 finishes. Cleary finished at 7-under 206 — a personal best as a Cavalier — good for fifth place. Sambach finished in seventh at 6-under 207, and Valinho ended at 4-under 209. Sambach’s final round was even par 71, and five of six of her collegiate rounds this year have been par or better.
The best round from the lineup on the final day was Smyth with a round of 2-under 69 to improve to 36th place.
The Cavaliers move on to compete at the Windy City Collegiate Classic Oct. 3-4 in Highland Park, Ill. hosted by Northwestern University.