UCLA shatters records in dominant win at Golfweek Conference Challenge

Lance Ringler/Golfweek

UCLA shatters records in dominant win at Golfweek Conference Challenge

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UCLA shatters records in dominant win at Golfweek Conference Challenge

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UCLA narrowly missed out on a victory in its season-opener. But a win was not in doubt this time.

The Bruins closed in 17-under 271 on Wednesday in Wolcott, Colo., to finish off a wire-to-wire 33-shot triumph at the 18-team Golfweek Conference Challenge. UCLA posted a 32-under 832 for the week, breaking the tournament scoring record by 26 shots.

And it was a school record as well for UCLA after setting the low 54-hole school record last week at ANNIKA Intercollegiate as well.

The team led by nine after the opening round, enhanced the cushion to 13 with 18 to play and exploded in the final round to that 33-shot margin over Pepperdine (1-over 865).

The Waves have now finished second in consecutive starts this fall.

UCLA’s Mariel Galdiano went out in 7-under 29 in the final round at Red Sky Golf Club’s Fazio Course and finished with a 7-under 65 for a 13-under total and a two-shot win in the individual race.

“All my parts of my game were working pretty well,” said Galdiano, a junior. “Overall my mental game was a lot stronger than usual today. I knew I was making a lot of birdies and a lot of opportunities were out there, but I just tried to stay grounded.”

The Bruins began the 2018-19 season at the loaded ANNIKA Intercollegiate and battled for the title before finishing runner-up – two shots shy of winner Alabama.

But it was a strong 26-under performance that included an individual title from Patty Tavatanakit after seven straight birdies and a closing eagle on the back nine brought home a final-nine 28.

Tavatanakit didn’t miss a beat in Colorado, as the sophomore was 6 under in one five-hole stretch Wednesday and finished in second at 11 under thanks to a final-round 67.

Two other Bruins placed in the top 10 after Lilia Vu (T-5, 4 under) also closed in 67 and Clare Legaspi (T-7, 3 under) opened in 68 and remained steady over the final 36 holes.

UCLA won seven times last season including co-medaling in the stroke-play portion at the NCAA Championship. The Bruins earned the No. 1 seed in match play due to a tiebreaker but were then upset in the quarterfinals by eighth-seeded Arizona, the eventual national champions.

So far, the Bruins have all the looks of a squad that will be right back in national title contention this spring.

But UCLA isn’t getting complacent.

“I’m so proud of our team,” Galdiano said. “Last week … we were 26 under. This week we were 31. So it just goes to show how we can keep getting better and better with every tournament.”

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