Courtesy of UCR Athletics
Courtesy of UCR Athletics

Savannah Vilaubi held the UCR’s women’s golf team together even though they finished in last place at UC Irvine’s Kia Invitational last Monday and Tuesday. The grand prize of the tournament was a sponsorship exemption to play with the professionals at the 2014 Kia Classic March 27-30 at Aviara Golf Club.

Stanford’s nationally ranked Mariah Stackhouse led by two strokes at the end of the second round with a score of 139. Vilaubi played confidently in the first round after hitting five birdies along with nine shots at par. She kept her rhythm in the second round as she hit par 13 times, three birdies and only two bogies.

By the end of the first day, Vilaubi put up impressive scores as she stroked one under par in the first two rounds for a total score of 142, only three strokes behind Stackhouse.

As a whole, the Highlanders were only two strokes away from 12th place Idaho. Vilaubi beat Idaho’s Kristin Strankman by six strokes in the first two rounds.

The Highlanders’ score in the second round hurt them the most. Vilaubi and Brittani Ferraro either tied their first-round score or shot under it, while the rest of the girls shot over their original scores. Those extra swings hurt the Highlanders, giving some of the other teams a chance to finish with better scores.

When the tournament concluded, UC Riverside finished the contest one stroke away from 11th place Nevada. Despite the loss, the team still put up numbers recreational golfers dream of scoring. Vilaubi finished with an outstanding 10 birdies, one more than Stackhouse of Stanford, who was the overall winner of the tournament.

Highlander Isabelle Shee tied for 57th place with an average of 8.3 over par. The Diamond Bar High School product finished the tournament with three birdies.

Ferraro was close behind Shee, tying for 59th place with an average of 8.6 strokes over for the tournament. Ferraro also had four birdies, three of them in the first round.

Haley Wian tied for 63 with an average of nine strokes over par. Tina Nagai finished up the tournament in 66th place. However, she was second to Vilaubi with five birdies.

Over the weekend, the Highlanders travelled to Arizona to participate in the Red Rocks Invitational. UC Riverside finished ninth place out of 18 teams, a drastic improvement from its last-place finish at the Kia tournament earlier in the week.

Yuri Ahn led UCR for the tournament with a total score of 149 (75-74), tied for ninth place overall. Vilaubi, who had a stellar performance at the Kia Invitational, was close behind finishing with a 154 (79-75).

Xavier won the team title with a 588 followed by Sacramento State and Northern Arizona, who finished tied for second.

The Highlanders now travel to Hawaii to compete in the Anuenue Hawaii Classic on March 24.