One year removed from seeing a three-stroke lead slip away to UC Riverside on the last day of the conference tournament, the Mustangs did just enough to make sure they wouldn’t have that experience a second time.
Cal Poly made its 10-stroke lead stand up at the picturesque Oak Quarry Golf Club and held off the defending champion Highlanders on their home course for a one-stroke victory.
It was the Mustangs’ fourth tournament win this year and their first Big West championship since joining the conference 17 years ago. Cal Poly finished the three-day event with a combined score of 887 — tied for its second-lowest tournament total this season — to earn the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.
“I think they were all excited,” second-year head coach Sofie Aagaard said in a phone interview. “It’s always fun to beat your opponent on their home course, especially since they beat us last year in Hawaii. It was a great win for sure.”
UC Riverside finished second at 888, followed by Hawaii in third at 893 and UC Davis in fourth at 894. Rounding out the field were Cal State Fullerton (898), Long Beach State (899), UC Irvine (905) and CSUN (916).
Cal Poly junior Jamie Binns placed fourth individually to lead the Mustang scorers, and made the tournament-clinching putt on the 18th hole Tuesday to seal the victory.
Binns shot two strokes over par for the tournament, turning in a three-round card of 71-74-73—218. It was Binns’ team-high fifth top-10 finish this season, and she was named a second-team all-Big West performer.
“She’s been striking the ball really, really well,” Aagaard said. “She played really well and had a lot of birdie opportunities that actually didn’t roll in, so it could have been even better.”
Bergland was named a first-team all-conference honoree, while Gillaspy joined Binns on the second team.
Cal State Fullerton senior Martina Edberg took medalist honors for the sixth time this season and finished the tournament six strokes under par at 210. It was Edberg’s second Big West individual championship after she won the event as a freshman in 2014.
UC Riverside’s Jakeishya Le shot a 68 on Tuesday — tied with Edberg’s second-round performance for the lowest round of the tournament — to place second overall at 5-under 211. Hawaii’s Isabelle Leung finished third at 1-over 217.
The Mustangs attention will now shift to the NCAA regionals, which will be held May 8-10 at the University of New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ironwood Golf and Country Club in Greenville, North Carolina, The Rawls Course in Lubbock, Texas, and Scarlet Course at Ohio State Golf Course in Columbus, Ohio.
Cal Poly will learn its postseason destination during the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship Selection Show, which will be broadcast at 8 a.m. Thursday on the Golf Channel. The event also will be streamed live on www.golfchannel.com.
Seventy-two teams and 24 individuals will be selected to compete at one of the four regional championships, each featuring 18 teams and six individuals.
Big West Conference Women’s Golf Championships
1. Cal Poly, 23-over 887
2. UC Riverside, 24-over 888
3. Hawaii, 29-over 893
4. UC Davis, 30-over 894
5. Cal State Fullerton, 34-over 898
1. Martina Edberg, Cal State Fullerton, 71-68-71—210
2. Jakeishya Le, UC Riverside, 70-73-68—211
3. Isabella Leung, Hawaii, 72-75-70—217
4. Jamie Binns, Cal Poly, 71-74-73—218
5. Jennifer Yu, Long Beach State, 75-72-72—219