CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- The University of North Carolina women's golf team won their second tournament this season at the Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational at UNC Finley Golf Course. The Tar Heels fired a 3-over-par 291 in the final round to finish with an overall score of 872 to post a 13-stroke win over runners-up Baylor and Mississippi. This marks the first time Carolina has posted back-to-back wins since March 2004 when they won the LSU/Cleveland Golf Classic and the Lady Gamecock Classic.
"It was a very exciting day out there," North Carolina head coach Jan Mann said. "I don't think I've been that nervous since I got married. When we were at Georgia we were only ahead by a couple of shots, but I was fine, I was calm. But I have to admit, I was pretty nervous for these girls to come in and win at their home course because it's always difficult. I'm just so proud of them. I'm so proud of every single one of them."
Junior Katherine Perry, from Cary, N.C., had her best round, shooting a 1-under 71. Perry improved to a tie for 19th place individually at 6-over 222. Junior Casey Grice, from College Station, Texas, who carded three birdies in the round, shot a 1-over 73 and finished tied for seventh place with a 2-over 218 total. Jackie Chang, a junior from Paradise Valley, Ariz., birdied four of her first eight holes, but tied for ninth place after shooting a 1-over 73 to put her total at 3-over 219. Sophomore Maia Schechter, from Takoma Park, Md., finished in sixth place after shooting a 2-over 74 in the final round. Schechter totaled a 1-over 217 for the tournament. Elizabeth Mallett, a freshman from Sutton Coldfield, England, finished with a 5-over 221 to tie for 15th place after shooting a 2-over 74 for the day.
"It was great to see Katherine [Perry] have a good round," Coach Mann said. "It was a wonderful way for her to finish up the season, and all the girls did well. I'm proud of each and every one of them."
Freshman Samantha Marks, from Maitland, Fla., playing as an individual, shot a 2-over 74 to tie for 26th at 7-over 223. Senior Courtney Gunter moved up to a tie for 68th with a score of 234 after shooting a 5-over 77 in the final round. Senior Michelle Ahn shot a 9-over 81 for the day and tied for 89rd with a 26-over 242.
Isabelle Lendl grabbed first place in the individual race after firing a 3-under 69. She finished the tournament with a 6-under 210. Baylor's Hayley Davis, the leader for the first two rounds, shot a 1-over 73 putting her at 3-under 213. Brittany Altomare of Virginia was one stroke behind at 214 after shooting a 2-under 70 in the final round. Haley Sanders of Mississippi and Lauren Taylor of Baylor tied for fourth place at 1-under 215. Carolina's Schechter placed sixth in the individual race with a score of 1-over 216. Tar Heels Grice and Chang tied for seventh and ninth respectively.
"I felt that it was a pretty solid tournament," Florida's Lendl said. "I played nicely today for seventeen holes. I had a little bit of a mishap on ten where I got greedy, but I came back with three birdies in a row right after, so I was pleased with that. I played real solid golf."
North Carolina held onto first place among 18 teams with a final score of 8-over 872, its first Tar Heel Invitational win since 1992. Baylor and Mississippi finished in a tie for second place at 21-over 885. Duke shot a 2-over 290 to finish the tournament with a 23-over 287 and in fourth place. Virginia finished one stroke behind with a three-day total of 288, rounding out the top five teams.
"They played great," Coach Mann said. "It was a great way to finish the fall season with back-to-back wins. We look forward to the time off, but we'll be working hard and getting ready for the spring."
The Ruth's Chris Tar Heel Invitational was played at UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill on the par 72, 6,379-yard layout. The Tar Heels will return to action for their spring season Feb. 10, 2013, in the UCF Challenge in Sorrento, Fla.