Nugent Leads Kansas to Team Victory at Rio Verde Invitational
March 11, 2012
RIO VERDE, Ariz. - Katy Nugent led all Jayhawks on the final day in Rio Verde, tying the tournament record for low single round with a three-under 68, finishing as the individual runner-up and led Kansas to the team title of the Rio Verde Invitational Sunday.
The Jayhawks came from six strokes behind to take the team title, winning the tournament with a team score of 900, tied for the highest winning score since the event went to three rounds in 2005. Head coach Erin O'Neil was very pleased with the team's performance this weekend.
"The team got off to a great start this morning and they played steady for the entire round which was key," Coach O'Neil said. "We had three players finish in the top 25 and that usually leads to us having a good team tournament. Katy had an outstanding final round and really led the way for us. Audrey and Nadia also had a solid tournament as well."
Nugent posted two straight five-over par rounds of 76 before firing a 68 to finish one shot behind individual champion Kristen Hill of Akron. Her 54-hole 220 total is the lowest this season and her final round 68 is her career-best 18-hole round. The senior from Wichita, Kan., had a strong short game all weekend and proves that hard work can pay off.
"My short game was really solid all week," Nugent said. "I was able to capitalize on some good birdie opportunities today. I've been able to dedicate more time to golf this spring as my class load is the lightest it's been since my first semester at KU so it's great to see hard work pay off."
The Jayhawks won a team title for the first time since claiming the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational in 2010 on their home course. The final round of 291 is the lowest round by the team this season, as Kansas defeated runner-up Missouri State by three strokes. Akron was third at 906, followed by Penn State at 911 in the 16-team tournament.
Junior Audrey Yowell continued her career-best performance Sunday, carding a 73 and finishing with a career-best 224 to put her in a tie for sixth place. Freshman Nadia Luttner came in with a 229 and concluded the tournament in a tie for 18th while sophomore Thanuttra Boonraksasat came in a tie for 21st with a three-day total of 230. Sophomore Meghan Potee finished off the Jayhawk lineup with a 54-hole total of 234 to put her in a tie for 33rd.
Nugent's second-place finish topped her previous best finish from the fall season of tied for 4th at the Palmetto Intercollegiate. Before this tournament, Nugent was third on the team averaging 77.3 strokes per round.
"This is a great confidence boost heading into the last part of our spring season," Coach O'Neil said. "I'm very happy to see all of the hard work paying off for the players."
Kansas will return to action at the Mountain View Collegiate March 23-24 in Tuscon, Ariz.