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Cal Poly Battles Wind in Palm Desert to Claim Second Straight Victory

Cal Poly Battles Wind in Palm Desert to Claim Second Straight Victory
PALM DESERT, Calif. — Scores were high due to gusty winds, but Cal Poly's four-person 327 total was good enough for a one-stroke victory over Southern Utah and two over UTEP in the final round of the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate on Sunday at the Classic Club.
 
In winning back-to-back tournaments for just the third time in program history, Coach Sofie Aagaard's Mustangs compiled a 54-hole 61-over-par 925 total on the 6,097-yard, par-72 course, posting a 301 and 297 in the first two rounds Saturday.
 
Southern Utah, which trailed Cal Poly by 12 strokes entering the final round, carded a 316 Sunday, falling one shot shy of the Mustangs. UTEP, five strokes off the lead after Saturday's 36 holes of play, slipped into third place with a 927 aggregate following its 324 total Sunday.
 
"It was incredibly tough conditions today with strong steady winds and severe gusts that affected all shots on the course, putts included," said Aagaard. "The score cards have lots of stories to tell unfortunately."
 
All six Cal Poly golfers carded scores in the 80s.
 
Jensen Jalufka finished in a tie for seventh with rounds of 78, 70 and 82 for a 14-over-par 230 total while Caroline Cantlay and Tiffany Cha, competing as an individual, shared 11th place with 232 totals. Both carded final-round 80s.
 
Elizabeth Scholtes posted an 84 for a 234 total and a tie for 13th place while Vanessa Wang added an 81 to finish with a 235 total and 17th place. Madi Daniel had an 88 for a 239 total and 25th place.
 
"Today's conditions really showed a big hole in the armor for this team," Aagaard said. "Our wind game is not good currently and, knowing we have conference in Las Vegas in April, where the wind can pick up too, this will be addressed heavily in practice moving forward."
 
Led by Jalufka's 70, the six Mustang competitors all recorded scores in the 70s in both rounds Saturday. 
 
"Our first day of play was solid," said Aagaard. "It was great to see the bounce back from some of our players in the second round and, again, it is encouraging to see that everyone has a score on the board and anyone can go low in competition."
 
Cal Poly won the Battle at Old Works just outside Butte, Montana, on Sept. 16-17. 
 
"I'm proud of the team for their spirit, for digging deep and grinding," Aagaard said. "Back-to-back wins is something to celebrate and be proud of." 
 
Individual winner was Chanikan (Pluem) Yungyuan of Southern Utah with a 69, 76 and 74 for a three-over-par 219 total, two strokes ahead of runner-up Valeria Mendizabal (74-72-75–221) of UTEP. Kamonwan (Poy) Prasurtwong (74-74-75–223) of Southern Utah was another two shots back in third place.
 
Cantlay shared first place with Yongyuan in par-3 scoring at two under par while Daniel was third in par-4 scoring at seven over par. Cha finished tied for second in par-5 scoring at one under par.
 
Cantlay and Jalufka each carded five birdies over 54 holes while Daniel's 34 pars was tied for No. 6 among the 63 golfers in the field.
 
Last time Cal Poly won back-to-back tournaments was during the 2016-17 season when the Mustangs placed first in both the Bobcat Desert Invitational and Big West Conference Championship. The Mustangs also accomplished the feat during the 2004-05 season.
 
Cal Poly returns to action Oct. 8-9 at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational hosted by the University of Washington at the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.