The Virginia women’s golf team rallied to its first victory since 2008, winning the Golfweek Conference Challenge by six shots over Arizona in the rarified air of Vail, Colorado.
Led by second-year All-American Brittany Altomare’s first individual title and an 8th-place finish from fourth-year All-American Calle Nielson, the Hoos brought home the title for the ACC, knocking off 4th ranked Arizona, 9th ranked Pepperdine, and 12th ranked Tennessee as well as 14 other teams. It was the first victory for the women’s team since the 2009 LSU Classic.
Following a hot-and-cold 8th place showing two weeks ago at the NCAA Fall Preview, the Cavalier women proved they are definitely a force to be reckoned with this season, erasing a four shot deficit in the final round by shooting a combined 1-under to win. It was the second round of the tournament that the Hoos managed to shoot under par, following another 1-under round from day 1.
Before heading to Colorado, Head Coach Kim Lewellen talked about the importance of putting together under par rounds in order to be competitive in today’s college tournaments, "We talked about having higher expectations and being able to be okay with shooting a lower round. You have to have the mindset now; with the quality of play that is out there pars are good, yes, but that you have to make a few more birdies to compete." Obviously, the result from the Conference Challenge shows something is starting to click in the girls’ mindsets, a trend that they will look to extend at the Tarheel Invitational in two weeks against an even stronger field.
In addition to the team victory, Altomare claimed her first collegiate title, shooting 4-under par total to win by one shot over Janine Fellows of Tulane. Trailing by three heading into the final round, Altomare made five birdies, including four on the more-difficult back nine to vault into the lead.
Third-year Lauren Greenlief also had her best collegiate tournament with an 11th place finish, including a second-round 70 and fourth-year Eleana Collins’ final-round 72 was key to the Hoos’ tournament-clinching round.
Next up for the ‘Hoos, a short trip to Chapel Hill for the Tarheel Invite in two weeks, where they will likely face the second-toughest field of the fall (only to the Fall Preview).