Aggies crowned champions of Big West

The UC Davis women’s golf team continued their outstanding spring season by outplaying the rest of the field and scoring a victory in the Big West Championship.

The Aggies came into the tournament fresh off of one of their worst finishes of the season, 11th place at the PING/ASU Invitational. Still, the tournament provided great practice as UC Davis faced off against 11 other Top-50 teams, managing to tie No. 5 Oklahoma and beat No. 12 Vanderbilt by 12 strokes.

In the Big West Championship, the Aggies were led by junior Beverly Vatananugulkit and sophomore Betty Chen, both of whom placed in the top 10.

Vatananugulkit paced the squad on the first day, shooting a one-under 72 to lead the individual field. Freshman Paige Lee, junior Blair Lewis and Chen all shot 74s, allowing the Aggies a comfortable 10-stroke lead over second place Long Beach State.

The second day saw the Aggies continue to maintain their dominance as they kept the lead, with Cal State Northridge jumping into the second spot.

Chen improved upon her first day, shooting an early eagle and a one-under 72. Lee and Vatananugulkit both shot 74s. The Aggies were in fine individual form, as four of the Aggies finished in the top 10 at the end of the day.

The final day proved to be more of the same for UC Davis. Vatananugulkit finished in a tie for third place individually after shooting a one-over 74, while Chen placed sixth. Meanwhile, Lee finished the day tied for seventh and Lewis ended in a tie for ninth.

The Aggies finished 16 strokes ahead of second place, slightly above their average margin of victory of 13 strokes throughout their five-year victory streak. That includes a 29-stroke lead which the Aggies held as they dominated their competition last year.

“It means a tremendous amount to win our fifth consecutive Big West Championship,” said head coach Anna Temple. “It is always special to win conference and this year was a unique experience.”

Through winning the Big West Championships, the Aggies receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Regionals which will take place from May 8 to May 10.

RYAN REED can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.

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