LAKE ELMO, Minn. – There was a constant theme at Royal Golf Club outside of Minneapolis all week during the 2022 ANNIKA Intercollegiate.
Survive the front nine, attack the back nine. And that’s what the Wake Forest women’s golf team did.
The No. 3 Demon Deacons trailed by six shots entering the final round, but they dominated both sides of the golf course and finished strong with a late birdie barrage to capture the ANNIKA Intercollegiate on a windy afternoon outside Minneapolis. Wake Forest had contributions from every member of its lineup, finishing at 6-under 858 for the week, but Wednesday’s 3-under 285 was enough to propel the Demon Deacons to their second ANNIKA Intercollegiate title, the first coming in 2019.
“You’re always comfortable when you have a lead, but we’ve got a bunch of really good teams here, so we just had to stick to the game plan,” Wake Forest coach Kim Lewellen said. “We’ve got a lot of veterans, and they’re used to being in this position.”
ANNIKA Intercollegiate: Scores
Rachel Kuehn helped cap the victory for Wake Forest. She birdied her final three holes, finishing at 1 under for the day and even-par 216 for the tournament, which was a tie for 10th. Lauren Walsh also birdied the closing par-5, and she finished in a tie for second at 7-under 209.
Emilia Migliaccio shot a 2-over 74 on Wednesday but finished in a tie for 10th, as well. Carolina Lopez-Chacarra was 4 under on the front nine and finished at 2 under and tied for 19th in the tournament.
The group effort culminated in Wake Forest’s first win of the season
“Now we will continue to learn and continue to get better,” Lewellen said. “It’s a cliche and you hear it a lot but these players are good and but they’re always striving to be better. So I think if we just stick with trying to get better each day, enjoy this victory, but get back to work tomorrow.
For a short while, Texas tied Wake Forest for the team lead at 2 under, when Bohyun Park got up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie on 18. Park finished tied with Walsh for second, and Texas ended in second as a team at 2-under 862.
Virginia, which led after the first two rounds, shot 8 over during the final round and finished in third, one shot behind the Longhorns. South Carolina and Duke finished in a tie for fourth at 1-over 855.
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The Cavaliers aren’t going home empty handed, though. Sophomore Amanda Sambach went wire-to-wire and won her first collegiate tournament, finishing at 9-under 207. She was overcome with emotion when walking off the 18th green and into the trophy presentation, but the win was a culmination of perseverance and self-belief.
“It means everything,” Sambach said. “My game has come so far. I hadn’t seen much improvement over the past couple tournaments or years, and now I see all of my work finally pay off.”
Sambach shot 2 over in the final round, one she admitted was a grind. She had a one-shot lead when standing on the final tee box, but she chipped within two feet of the hole on the par-5 and had an easy birdie putt, her 15th of the week, tied with Walsh for the most among all players.
Virginia’s Amanda Sambach with Annika Sorenstam after winning the 2022 ANNIKA Intercollegiate at the Royal Golf Club in Elmo, Minnesota. (Photo: Taylor Britton/ANNIKA Foundation)
Duke’s Phoebe Brinker had five birdies in the final round and shot 3-under 69, which tied for low round of the day. Brinker finished solo fourth and 6 under for the tournament. Florida’s Annabell Fuller also shot 3 under in the final round and tied for fifth with South Carolina’s Mathilde Claisse and Hannah Darling, who each shot 2-over 74 on Wednesday.
When Sambach drained the final putt, her teammates rushed the green and soaked her with water. Then, Annika Sorenstam, the tournament’s namesake, was there to congratulate her.
“It’s insane. First of all, just to win with a tournament that has her name on it, but to have her here in person is unbelievable,” Samback said. “She’s literally the GOAT.”