RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – University of Arkansas junior Emily Tubert posted a three-round 213 winning the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, in the 12th-ranked Razorbacks’ first event of the spring season.
Tubert, a Burbank, Calif., native, won the event by one stroke shooting 70-70-73 at the Rio Mar Country Club’s River Course, a par 72, 6,191 yard course. She battled strong winds and rain over the final two rounds and played her final nine holes even on Tuesday.
As a team, Arkansas finished with 297 in the final round for an 884, 13 strokes back of sixth-ranked Alabama who won the event with an 871. The Razorbacks were one shot better than No. 20 Texas Tech who was third with 885.
“Overall it was a solid start for us,” Arkansas head coach Shauna Estes-Taylor said. “Obviously, our team goal is to win titles and to give ourselves that opportunity and we had that chance going into today. Mike (Adams) and I really saw a lot of good stuff this week. My coaching philosophy has always been to work really hard, prepare and get better and we will play our best golf at the end of the season. Every time we can be in contention with this young group is a good thing.”
Arkansas’ veterans stepped up this week with senior Victoria Vela finishing tied for 14th and junior Emma Lavy tying for 18th overall.
Vela was steady with rounds of 75-74-74 for a 223 while Lavy posted 75-79-71 for a 225.
“Seeing Emily back in the winner’s circle is special,” Estes-Taylor said. “She’s worked really hard after a tough fall. She persevered and we made some changes mechanically and that really worked for her this week. The golf shots she had to hit coming in were a taste of what she is capable of. Emma’s round of 71 today was fantastic in tough conditions and Vicky was just solid all week. She played to her strengths and did a great job.”
A pair of Razorback freshmen also returned to the links this week for Arkansas. Gabriela Lopez finished tied for 34th shooting 73-73-83 for 229 and Regina Plasencia tied for 50th overall with a 233 that included 73-81-79.
“Both Regina and Gaby are great players,” Estes-Taylor said. “Each week they play with us they become better and more mature on the golf course. We are excited about their future as Razorbacks. They both counted for us during the week and we needed every stroke for the second place finish.”
The rest of the field included No. 25 Iowa State in fifth with 896 followed by No. 21 North Carolina State with 902, No. 19 Purdue with 904, No. 28 Kentucky with 908, No. 24 Northwestern and No. 21 SMU tied for ninth with 909, No. 29 Auburn with 916, Michigan with 934, Kent State with 941, No. 36 Indiana with 942 and Nebraska in 15th with 962.
The Razorbacks continue the spring season Feb. 24-25 at the Westbrook Invitational in Peoria, Ariz.
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