In her first college event, Rachel Kuehn leads Wake Forest to team, individual wins at ANNIKA Intercollegiate

Taylor Britton/ANNIKA Foundation

In her first college event, Rachel Kuehn leads Wake Forest to team, individual wins at ANNIKA Intercollegiate

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In her first college event, Rachel Kuehn leads Wake Forest to team, individual wins at ANNIKA Intercollegiate

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LAKE ELMO, MINN. — Wake Forest just made its claim as the best team in the nation.

On Wednesday, the Demon Deacons announced their presence with authority at Royal Golf Club as one of the best programs in the country with a dominant team and individual win at the premier women’s Div. I college golf tournament, the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M.

Last season’s NCAA runner-up to Duke, Wake Forest cruised to the team title at 17 under, finishing an astounding 14 strokes clear of second place Arkansas (-3). Texas placed third at 2 under, with Arizona State (+1) and USC (+2) rounding out the top five.

The Demon Deacons were led by their happy-go-lucky freshman Rachel Kuehn, who won her first college event wire-to-wire thanks to consecutive rounds of 67 and a final round 69, capped off with a birdie on the 18th hole.

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Kuehn won with ease finishing 13 under, with Arizona’s Vivian Hou placing second at 8 under, followed by Texas’ Kaitlyn Papp (-7), Arkansas’ Kajal Mistry (-5) and Wake Forest’s Swing Liu (-4).

“I’ve been playing well since I got to college, obviously this exceeded my hopes, expectations, but it’s really nice to come out and play well because I’ve been waiting for this for 2.5 years,” said Kuehn. “It’s lived up to the hype.”

Her personality is infectious. You’ll rarely see Kuehn on the course without a smile on her face. In fact, the only time she didn’t smile was when she made a “dumb bogey” on No. 3 in Wednesday’s final round, one of only three bogeys in 54 holes this week. She rebounded with a birdie on the next hole.

As if winning in her first event wasn’t impressive enough, don’t forget Kuehn failed to qualify for Wake’s season-opener last week at the Cougar Classic, where they finished second.

“She came into my office and asked ‘What do I need to do, coach?'” said head coach Kim Lewellen. “I said, ‘You’ve got to make it where I can’t not take you.’ I think she just did that.”

While she’ll tell you she was a little surprised with her early success, good scores for the Demon Deacons are in Kuehn’s genetics.

Her mom, Brenda Corrie Kuehn, was an All-American golfer for the Demon Deacons from 1984-86, winning five events in her senior season to solidify a spot as a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame.

The school’s records say Brenda’s best round in her time at Wake Forest was a 67. Her daughter tied that mark in her first two rounds.

“We talk a little junk,” said Kuehn with her signature smile. “I was giving her a hard time, but she gives it right back so we’re OK.”

Past ANNIKA Intercollegiate champions

2018

Alabama: -28 (836)
Patty Tavatanakit (UCLA): -13 (203)

2017

Arkansas: -16 (848)
Maria Fassi (Arkansas): -10 (206)

2016

USC: -24 (840)
Maria Fassi (Arkansas): -11 (205)

2015

USC: -36 (828)
Karen Chung (USC): -12 (204)

2014

South Carolina: -10 (854)
Justine Dreher (South Carolina): -9 (207)

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