Mao Claims Medalist Honors at UCF Challenge
Feb. 12, 2013
Sorrento, Fla. – Virginia sophomore women’s golfer Briana Mao (Folsom, Calif.) picked up the first victory of her career by winning medalist honors at the UCF Challenge at Redtail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. Mao becomes the fifth golfer in UVa’s 10-year history to win a tournament.
Virginia moved up to fifth place in the final team standings in the 18-team field at 15-over 879. The Cavaliers’ final round score of 3-over 291 was the team’s best single-day performance of the tournament. UVa was in 10th place following Sunday’s opening round. North Carolina claimed the team championship at 10-under 854. The UCF Challenge was Virginia’s first tournament of its spring season.
Mao finished Tuesday’s third round with a score of 1-over 73 for a 54-hole total of 4-under 212. She held off a late charge from East Carolina’s Frida Gustafsson Sprang, who shot 3-under 69 during the final round to place second at 213.
Mao said she surprised herself with such a strong start to the spring. Her previous best tournament finish was seventh place last March at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.
During the first round of the UCF Challenge, she posted the best single-round score of her career, shooting 2-under 70. She bettered that during Monday’s second round with a 3-under 69. Her final score of 4-under 212 was six shots better than her previous best tournament result.
“I am a little surprised,” Mao said. “I have been working hard on my game, especially my putting. On the first day, I literally did not miss a shot. I thought to myself, `Wow, I’m hitting the ball really well.’ I felt like I played a lot smarter at this tournament. I felt like I played to win.”
“Bri has always been an outstanding ball striker,” said Virginia coach Kim Lewellen. “I noticed on the stats she has really improved her putting and been more focused on her mental game. She has worked a lot with our sports psychologist, Jim Bauman, to not let one shot or putt throw her off during a round. That all paid off for her today. She played like a champion the entire tournament. I’m very proud of her. Every aspect of her game was on.”
“Coach calls it our soft skills – course management and the whole mental game,” Mao said. “I’ve spent a lot of time on that with Dr. Bauman. I found it was a lot easier to hit a golf shot if you are not blinded by anger. My head was clear all week. I think that approach has helped me to be a smarter player. This week, I learned to take advantage of what the course gave me.”
Virginia’s Brittany Altomare used a strong finishing round to move up to 12th place. She shot 2-under 70 for a three-day total of 2-over 218. , playing as a non-scoring individual, was 20th overall at 220. In her first collegiate tournament, Coughlin posted rounds of 69, 77 and 74.
The Cavaliers resume their spring schedule March 8-10 at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate.
Redtail Golf Club
Par-72, 6,374 yards
1. North Carolina 287-278-289-854 2. Tulane 288-293-290-871 3. UCF 287-294-295-876 4. Miami 293-295-289-877 5. Virginia 296-292-291-879 6. East Carolina 289-298-295-882 7. South Carolina 284-306-293-883 8. Texas State 293-298-298-889 9. Augusta State 287-300-303-89010. Mississippi 296-295-301-89211. Louisville 299-302-300-90112. Coastal Carolina 302-300-301-90313. Missouri 300-308-298-90613. Kennesaw State 292-314-300-90615. Col. of Charleston 299-308-300-90716. South Florida 297-301-314-91217. Georgia State 304-311-308-92318. Oregon State 305-312-311-928
Individual Leaders1. Briana Mao, Virginia 70-69-73-2122. F. Gustafsson Sprang, East Carolina 70-74-69-2133. Elizabeth Mallett, North Carolina 73-69-72-2143. Katherine Perry, North Carolina 76-69-69-214
Virginia Results 1. Briana Mao 70-69-73-21212. Brittany Altomare 77-71-70-21820. Lauren Coughlin* 69-77-74-22050. Nicole Agnello 75-78-74-22759. Portland Rosen 74-75-80-22985. Elizabeth Brightwell 85-77-74-236* Non-scoring individual