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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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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Just a couple shots short

No. 16 A&M women’s golf loses No. 1 seed at SEC Championship
Courtesy of Aiden Shertzer/Texas A&M Athletics

Texas A&M women’s golf junior Fernández García-Poggio swings at the ball.

The No. 16 Texas A&M women’s golf team lost the final round in the 2024 SEC Championship on Tuesday, April 16 after a successful five-day tournament at the par 70, 6,150-yard Pelican Golf Club in Belleair, Florida.

After shooting their way through the first three rounds and the quarter and semifinals, the Aggies were not able to claim back-to-back SEC Championship titles.

Coach Gerrod Chadwell took graduate Blanca Fernández García-Poggio, junior Adela Cernousek, senior Zoe Slaughter, freshman Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio and graduate Jennie Park to the tourney.

On Day 1, Cayetana led the Aggies with a first-place possession after shooting 4-under 66 and sharing the lead with four other competitors. The No. 7 amateur in the world was just one stroke ahead of second while shooting seven birdies, three of which were on the final six holes.

Cernousek shot 1-under 69 after 18 holes and a 34 on the back nine, tying for 12th. Blanca Fernández García-Poggio shared 19th, shooting even and also firing 34 on the back nine. Slaughter shot 4-over 74 and tied for 39th while Park shared 47th going 5-over.

The Aggies tied for second at 1-under 279 with Auburn for Day 1, just four shots behind the No. 1 spot, South Carolina.

“We had a solid start to the tournament, and we hope to be here for a while,” Chadwell said after Day 1. “I didn’t think this place was playing easy and, looking at the scores, you can tell. Overall, it was a great team effort and [Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio] had a big day. Everybody did their part, and I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”

Slaughter was A&M’s shiner for Day 2, shooting 3-under 67, the second-lowest individual score of the day. Her performance led the team to a 1-over 281, tying for the lowest round by a school in Round 2.

She went 3-under at the turn, performing her best on the front nine shooting four birdies and sharing 16th.

“We got off to a blazing start and even had the lead going into the turn,” Chadwell said. “The wind picked up on the back and won the day, but I am really thankful for that start because it gave us a good cushion coming in.”

Cernousek shot 1-under 139 after two rounds and completed the day going even par and sharing eighth.
Cayetana also shared eighth with a 3-over 73, just four shots behind the Mississippi State individual lead, junior Julia Lopez Ramirez.

Blanca shot 1-under 71 with a birdie on 18, the toughest hole on the course, and shared 16th. Park finished with a shared 49th spot.

The Maroon and White stayed in second behind South Carolina on Day 2, going 1-under.

“We came out fighting and that’s what you need to do out here,” Chadwell said. I want us to come out swinging tomorrow and be able to make match play with one of the top seeds.”

It looked like three might be the Aggies’ lucky number. On Day 3, A&M earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament, shooting 3-over.

“It’s a new tournament now,” Chadwell said. “We wanted to be in the top four to be able to somewhat control the matches in your favor, and we did that. I am proud of the team.”

Cernousek, going 2-under 208, shot a 1-under 69 in the final round to tie for sixth on the individual leaderboard. Cayetana recorded her best freshman season performance, scoring an even-par 210 through 54 holes and sharing eighth.

After being tied for 39th on Day 1, Slaughter pulled herself up to share 11th on Day 3, turning in a 2-over 212. Blanca Fernández García-Poggio went 2-over 72 and shared 16th in the final round while Park shared 50th.

“We will be relying on our experience from the past two years,” Chadwell said. “We can pair up a lot of different ways in these matches. I feel confident in how we are playing and anything can happen from here on out.”

Day 4 meant playing and defeating the No. 6 seed, Arkansas, 3-1-1, in the quarterfinals and Georgia, 3-2, in the semifinals.

The Aggies quickly secured their dominance over the Razorbacks in three matches at the turn. Cernousek came out strong against Arkansas star freshman Maria José Marin, the No. 15 amateur in the world, 5&4. Blanca also took a victory with a 4&3 against Razorback junior Kendall Todd with a four-hole lead on the final nine.

Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio went three through 13 before Arkansas graduate Kajal Mistry won three holes in a row to even the match. After a win for No. 8 and a half for No. 9, the Aggies advanced to the semis for the second year in a row, 3-1.

There wasn’t time for celebration as they prepared to take on the Georgia Bulldogs.

Blanca Fernández García-Poggio came in with the first point, dominating her match, 6UP. Cernousek went 2&1 to take a match win. Cayetana Fernández García-Poggio battled with Georgia freshman Savannah De Bock before clinching the win, going 1UP on No. 18. Slaughter and Park lost their matches, going 2&1 and 1UP, respectively.

The Maroon and White advanced to the finals to play against Mississippi State on the fifth and final day.

“We got the last tee time,” Chadwell said. “Every time we have gotten to match play, we want to get another tee time. Our experience has impacted everything to this point. Getting to the championship is so hard and winning any match is incredibly difficult. We are prepared for a fight and our girls know what to expect come tomorrow.”

The reigning SEC Champions fell to Mississippi State, 3-2, removing their chance of a double-year victory.

Both Fernández García-Poggio sisters won their matches. Blanca went 7&6, going bogey-free in her three matches to earn a perfect 3-0. Cayetana also went 3-0, going 4&3.

“Blanca got off to a great start and put a point on the board for us and Cayetana had a lot of momentum the whole day,” Chadwell said.

Cernousek, Slaughter and Park could not earn a victory against the Bulldogs, losing the title.

“We didn’t have our best today,” Chadwell said. “Hats off to Mississippi State, they played great all day. We played great all week and I loved our chances going into the match. Incredibly proud of our team and looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The Maroon and White take a short break before returning to their home course at Traditions Club to host the NCAA Bryan Regional on May 6-8.

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About the Contributor
Idani Cantu, Sports Writer
Idani Cantu is a senior Agricultural Communication and Journalism major.
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