Valenzuela wins individual crown; Stanford top seed at East Lake Cup
ATLANTA – Albane Valenzuela posted a 4-under 68 Monday en route to her first individual stroke-play crown in 2018. Her Stanford Cardinal, meanwhile, combined for a 2-under 286 to grab its third consecutive top seed heading into match play at the East Lake Cup.
Valenzuela started the afternoon with four straight pars before sinking her first birdie on the par-4 fifth. She went into the back nine at 2 under after draining a birdie on the difficult eighth hole. Despite a bogey on No. 12, the Switzerland native rebounded to birdie No. 16 and eagled the par-5 18th to secure her individual victory, bettering Arizona’s Yu-Sang Hou by one stroke.
“It feels great [to win the individual title],” Valenzuela said. “I didn’t win anything this year, and I really wanted to get that feeling. Today is probably the best I’ve felt in a long time. I needed to pull one really good round and I was happy I could make it today. I feel great physically, I’m really happy with where I am, and I love Stanford.”
Stanford junior Andrea Lee carded a 1-under 71 thanks to five birdies on the back nine, with freshman Aline Krauter carding a 72. Ziyi Wang and Mika Liu rounded out the Cardinal group with a pair of 75s.
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“Oh, I’m thrilled [with our team’s performance]. They played so well,” Stanford head coach Anne Walker said. “It was really fun on the back nine, and it was just great to see. No one got tired of how challenging the front nine was, no one lost their patience, everyone stayed with it and it paid off.”
Defending East Lake Cup champion USC finished second in the team portion, which was used to determine the match-play seedings. The Trojans were led by Malia Nam’s 1-under 71.
“On the front nine, it didn’t seem like anything was dropping and my shots weren’t as good,” Nam said. “I just tried to keep positive because this course is really hard and I’m sure everyone was struggling. I kept my mentality strong and just let the birdies come. I was patient and it just so happened that I was able to convert some putts.”
Arizona, the reigning national champions, was third (11-over 299) and national runner-up Alabama was fourth (24-over 312) among the quarter of teams.
Hou headlined the Wildcats’ with a 3-under 69, while sophomore Angelica Moresco turned in a 1-over 73 at the top of Alabama’s team. Based on the results of Monday’s stroke play, top-seeded Stanford will face off Alabama, while USC and Arizona will go head-to-head, in the match-play semifinals.
No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 4 Alabama
Andrea Lee vs. Mary Mac Trammell
Aline Krauter vs. Kenzie Wright
Ziyi Wang vs. Carolina Caminoli
Mika Liu vs. Jiwon Jeon
Albane Valenzuela vs. Angelica Moresco
No. 2 USC vs. No. 3 Arizona
Jennifer Chang vs. Bianca Pagdanganan
Alyaa Abdulghany vs. Ya Chun Chang
Malia Nam vs. Yu-Sang Hou
Amelia Garvey vs. Sandra Nordaas
Gabriela Ruffels vs. Haley Moore
Match play begins Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. ET, with Stanford and Alabama teeing off first. USC and Arizona’s match will commence at 12:55 p.m. Live coverage of Day 2 of the East Lake Cup begins at 3 p.m. ET on Golf Channel and Golf Channel Digital, and is also available via the Golf Channel’s mobile app.