Wednesday, 24 April 2024 08:21


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BROKEN ARROW, Okla. – Henderson State’s Allie Bianchi, the Great American Conference’s Women’s Golf Player of the Year, eagled the par-5 18th hole to capture the medalist honors at the 2024 GAC Championships from The Club at Forest Ridge. Her Reddies secured their fourth-straight team title after finishing 16 shots clear of Harding.

Bianchi became the fifth GAC Player of the Year to win the Championship medalist honor in the same season. Her former teammate, Gracen Blount achieved the feat in 2022 as did Arkansas Tech’s Peerada Piddon in 2018 and the Golden Suns’ Rebecka Surtevall in 2012 and 2014. She never held the outright lead until the final putt dropped. She emerged from a five-way logjam that left Arkansas Tech’s Ellen Spigner, Harding’s Kodie Winnings, Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Romane Lacoste and Southwestern Oklahoma State Freya Sala in a tie for second at 12-over par. She overcame a 5-over stretch across a three-hole on the back nine by playing her final five holes in 3-under. For the day, she shot a 3-over par 75.

Jinna Boonbumroongsuk, one of two 36-hole leaders, finished in seventh. Lilly Nelson, the 2023 GAC Championship medalist, matched Bianchi with a 3-over 75. She moved up to a tie for eighth. Daphney Tilton and Felisa Sajulga finished in a tie for 13th.

Paced by Winnings, the Lady Bisons registered the low team score for the second-straight day to secure second place. She carded the low round of the day, an even-par 72, thanks to four birdies. GAC Freshman of the Year Sydney Kincade earned a top-10 finish following a third-round 78. Alicia Martinez moved up to 12th after a 5-over 77. Brenda Sanchez tied for 16th.

SWOSU edged Arkansas Tech by two strokes for third. Sala moved up from sixth to the tie for second thanks to a 4-over 76. Megan Brown notched the fourth top-10 finish at the event by placing sixth and Rebecca Lau tied for 13th.

Spigner carded five birdies as part of a 1-over par round. Claire Orcutt, the other second-round co-leader, shot 85 to fall to 11th. 

Lacoste led the Rangers to their best showing at the GAC Championships, a solo fifth. She became the first Ranger to finish inside the top five and earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team. She bounced back from a 4-over start on her two holes by playing her final 16 holes in 1-over. Her sister, Agathe Lacoste registered the team’s low round of the day, a 4-over 76.

Oklahoma Baptist finished sixth followed by Southeastern Oklahoma State, Southern Nazarene, Arkansas-Monticello and Southern Arkansas. The Blossoms’ Chiara Sturaro maintained her spot inside the top 10 by tying Nelson for eighth.

The Reddies earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Central Region Championships. The tournament takes place from Monday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 8 from Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Henderson State placed second, in a playoff, on that course in the fall. The full region selections come out on Monday. SWOSU, Arkansas Tech and Harding appeared in the top 10 in the most recent region rankings.



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