Junior Sophie Hausmann, the Big Sky’s top-ranked women’s golfer, carded an overall 4-under par 212 to place first overall and led the Vandals to a fifth place tie to open spring season at The Gold Rush tournament in Long Beach, Calif.
It was Hausmann’s second-straight Gold Rush title and third first-place career finish — she carded 12-under overall last season, including a 7-under par 65 in the final round to set a personal and course single-round record. The Big Sky Conference also named her its women’s golfer of the week following the tournament, her second such award of the year and fifth of her career.
The Vandals turned in an overall 35-over 899 on the tournament, tying fellow conference competitor Sacramento State for a top-five spot. Idaho finished 16 shots back of first-place Georgia, which featured three top-five individuals.
Both Hausmann and freshman Valeria Patino turned in 3-over 75s in the first round. Idaho sat alone in eighth after the first, with not one golfer in the top-20.
Through 17 holes in the first, German-born Hausmann bore four bogeys and had not yet sketched a circle. On the course’s final hole, however, she blasted her drive and plopped her second onto the green on the 479-yarder, a par-5. Hausmann sank a near-30-foot eagle putt to trim away two strokes.
Hausmann catapulted her way from 20th into a tie for second place in round two with a 3-under 69. With just two bogeys, compared to three birdies and yet another eagle, Hausmann superseded everyone, except for Colorado State’s Ellen Secor, who sat perched just three strokes ahead.
“Sophie’s play in the second round was impressive,” Idaho head coach Lisa Johnson said in a news release. “She put a little too much pressure on herself early, but once she settled down we saw what she is capable of. Her two eagles both came on great fairway woods over water, into the green, followed by a long putt.”
Patino carded her second-straight 75, thanks to relatively unshakeable play. The freshman parred every hole on the front-nine, except one bogey on the No. 1 handicap hole, the slight dogleg-right 475-yard par-5 fourth.
Senior Kendall Gray turned in a 1-over 73, her best outing, and the team’s overall third-best mark in the third round. Gray knocked in five birdies, but a double-bogey on the last hole erased her chances at shooting par.
Patino had her worst round of the day in the third, a 4-over 76, but she and Gray managed to tie for 22nd place overall.
With four birdies on the front-nine of her 4-under outing in the third round, Hausmann bounced back after entering the day down three strokes. She took the lead while Secor, who held the advantage throughout the majority of the tournament, only recorded one birdie in the third.
Hausmann yet again prevailed on the back-nine, especially the No. 4 handicap 18th hole. She birdied the final hole for a 4-under showing throughout the tournament on that hole alone.
“Today’s round showcased Sophie’s growth as a player,” Johnson said. “She was ready to go. I didn’t help her with a single golf shot today. I checked in with her a few times and she didn’t need help. She was feeling good and she was confident. That’s where you want every player to get. She didn’t back down or play tentative at all and the result was a decisive win.”
The Vandals will return to the links, gold in hand, Feb. 26-27 for the Rebel Beach Intercollegiate tournament at Las Vegas’ Spanish Trail Country Club.
Colton Clark can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @coltonclark95.