NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The New Mexico State women’s golf team rode career highs by junior Laura Barron to finish in seventh place out of 15 teams at the Jim West Challenge hosted by Texas State on Tuesday.
The Aggies shot a final round 24-over-par 308 at the par-71, 6178-yard Bandit Golf Course to finish with a total three-round score of 80-over-par 932 (307-317-308).
Barron shot a career-low 2-over-par 73 on Tuesday to finish with a total score of 15-over 228 (75-80-73) and in 11th place. It was Barron’s best finish as an Aggie, her first top 20 finish and three strokes from her first top 10 finish. Barron used three birdies on the day to mark her career low and had five total birdies throughout the two days to lead the Aggies.
“Laura (Barron) made some changes with her putting before this trip that really paid off,” Aggie head coach Jackie Booth said. “She went into this tournament with a new attitude as well, the team and coaches are proud of her finish on a difficult golf course.”
Barron almost matched her previous career-low round of 3-over during the first round, finishing with a 4-over 75. It was still good enough for the best round of the day for NM State on Monday, as was Barron’s Tuesday round.
Sophomore Viviana Macias shot a 5-over 76 on Tuesday to also finish in the top 20. Her total score of 19-over 232 (77-79-76) placed her in a tie for 20th place with five other golfers. Fellow sophomore Kacey Dalpes, meanwhile, finished in a tie for 28th place with 21-over 234 (78-76-80).
Rounding out the Aggie squad was junior Paige Darwin who finished at 27-over-par 240 (79-82-79) and in a tie for 44th place, and freshman Valeria Macias who finished in a tie for 52nd place with a total score of 28-over 241 (77-84-80).
Gonzaga swept both the team and individual titles. The Bulldogs led wire-to-wire, finishing with a total-team score of 26-over-par 878 (285-306-287), eight strokes ahead of second place and host Texas State who wound up with a 34-over 886 (300-300-286).
A Gonzaga golfer led after each of the three rounds of the tournament. Bulldog Raychelle Santos, who also led after round one, took back the lead she lost from her teammate Ciera Min after round two to win the tournament with a score of 1-under-par 212 (68-77-67). Min finished in a tie for second place with Jenna Hague of Ball State. Both ladies finished two shots back of Santos at 1-over-par 214.
NM State now looks forward to participation in the Bruin/Wave Invitational, hosted by UCLA and Pepperdine, which will be held in Tarzana, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. The three-round tournament will be held Monday and Tuesday, March 3-4, and will kick off a busy three-tournament month of March for the Aggies.