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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Photo by Hannah Harrison
Freshman Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio appears to put in the rain during the Bryan Regional of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship at Traditions Golf Club on Monday, May 6, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)

The Texas A&M women’s golf team’s habit of struggling to close out matches led to the closing of its season on Tuesday, May 21, with a loss to UCLA in the NCAA Championships quarterfinal round.

The Aggies took leads in two pairings along with two ties as they approached the turn at hole No. 1, but the Bruins roared back to claim a 3-0 victory at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California.

“We got off to a good start and played really well on the front, but lost momentum at the turn,” coach Gerrod Chadwell said. “We didn’t play the last part of the back nine well and we just weren’t playing very clean. UCLA was not going to beat themselves and they played great.”

A&M saw itself lose leads in its first two postseason matches, beginning with the NCAA Bryan Regional, where a 9-over in the final round at Traditions Club put it just above the cut line. The Maroon and White led through three rounds of stroke play in the NCAA Championships, but May 20’s 15-over showing made them settle for third place.

Graduate Blanca Fernández García-Poggio carried a two-hole lead into the turn, but UCLA sophomore Meghan Royal forced a tie at hole No. 3. Fernández García-Poggio regained her lead briefly at No. 5, but Royal claimed the next two holes to stake her first advantage of the round. She stayed firm in the final two holes to pick up the Bruins’ first point, 1UP.

UCLA junior Caroline Canales was a force from the beginning of her pairing with freshman Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio, taking a lead on the first hole and never looking back. Her edge grew to as much as four holes before taking the 2&1 victory.

Senior Zoe Slaughter’s pairing with junior Natalie Vo remained even halfway through, but Vo turned on the jets beyond the turn to grab the 3&2 point and send the Bruins to the national semifinals. The Aggies were looking for their third trip in a row to the tournament’s final four.

“It is always special making it to match play,” Chadwell said. “We will learn from this and get better.”

A day after capturing the individual national crown, junior Adela Cernousek was deadlocked with senior Kate Villegas through 15 holes, while graduate Jennie Park was even with junior Zoe Antoinette Campos after 15.

In addition to claiming the program’s first individual title, Cernousek notched the lowest stroke average in A&M history and was the first to average below 71.00 at 69.94. The No. 17 amateur in the world, Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio had the second-lowest stroke average for an A&M freshman at 72.09.

Blanca Fernández García-Poggio, Park and Slaughter conclude their collegiate careers inside the program’s all-time top-10 in stroke average. Slaughter carries the A&M record for a 54-hole match at 18-under 198 and is the only golfer in school history to shoot 7-under or lower in at least four rounds.

“In some ways it is an end of an era,” Chadwell said. “Our three young ladies that we are sending out into the real world today transformed our program. They changed my life and I will always be thankful for them. We have some experience coming back, so I am excited for that. This is still a celebration. We won in a lot of ways because of their bond as sisters.”

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About the Contributors
Luke White
Luke White, Sports Editor
Luke White is a senior telecommunication media studies major and sport management minor from Round Rock, Texas. He has served as head sports editor since May 2023.
Hannah Harrison
Hannah Harrison, Photographer
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