New Mexico Lobos Women’s Golf – at Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational
Where: Almaden Golf and Country Club (6,162 yards – par 72) – San Jose, Calif.
Top Five Teams: 1. Oregon 296-292-288 – 876. 2. UC Davis 299-291-288 – 878. 3. San Jose State 295-301-287 – 883. 4. New Mexico 303-300-288 – 891. 5. San Francisco 295-295-302 – 892.
Top Four Individuals: 1. Sammi Stevens, New Mexico, 71-71-71 – 213. 1 (tie) Martina Edberg, CS Fullerton, 71-71-68 – 213. 1 (tie): Cathleen Santoso, Oregon, 73-72-68 – 213. 4. My Leander, San Jose State, 71-76-68 – 215.
Lobo Roster: Sammi Stevens 71-71-71 – 213. Manon De Roey 78-75-74 – 227. Manon Molle 78-77-72 – 227. Sofia Hoglund 79-77-71 – 227 . Katerina Jaeger 76-79-79 – 234.
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Sammi Stevens’ nickname is not “The Rock.” It could be. She has been as steady as a rock since joining the New Mexico Lobos in 2010. As a baby-faced freshman, she had the second-best scoring average on the team.
But until today – Tuesday, March 4, 2014 – Stevens had not won a golf tournament. Now, she has.
It’s probably not fair to say the monkey is off Stevens’ back because there was never really a monkey on her back. She is too good, too valuable to the New Mexico team. Really, she has almost always met expectations. She is the rock to scissors.
So, we’ll let Stevens say it: “I finally got the monkey off my back,” said the senior via a phone call from San Jose, Calif., where Stevens finished as co-champion at the Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational.
Prior to her senior season of 2013-14, Stevens said one of her goals was to get her first collegiate win. There wasn’t any reason to doubt Stevens could do it. But would she do it? A golf tournament is a difficult thing to win. Stevens was runner-up by a shot at Colorado State’s tourney in September.
“I have been close so many times that it kind of wears on you,” she said. “After a while, you start thinking, “Isn’t it about time?”
Stevens’ time came in San Jose. She threw out a 71 and threw out another 71 and threw out another 71. “Steady Stevens,” she said acknowledging her reputation for steady golf. “I was pumped to win it. It’s a huge deal for any of us to win. It was a strong field and it felt awesome.”
Stevens also had some cheerleaders. She came to UNM in 2010 along with Sofia Hoglund and Manon De Roey, who already have medalist honors in their bags. They were pulling for Steady Stevens to join them in the winners’ circle.
“You can only be a bridesmaid so many times,” said Trujillo of Stevens’ first win. “This is the third player to win out of my senior class who came in at the same time. There was some good-natured pressure from Manon and Sofia for Sammi to join them.”
Stevens has been a role model on and off the course for New Mexico and usually her clubs are the ones leading the way for Trujillo’s Lobos. It’s no surprise to see Stevens’ name near the top of a leaders’ board.
Trujillo might have been more pleased to see what her team did on Tuesday. They joined Stevens in shooting outstanding golf.
The Lobos carded their best round of 2013-14 and went under 290 for the first time in six tournaments. The Lobos carded a 288 to vault into the No. 4 spot with an 891 total. Oregon got the win at 876 followed by UC Davis at 878 and San Jose State at 883. Oregon and UC Davis also shot 288 on Tuesday.
Trujillo said her Lobos’ goal prior to the final 18 holes was to surge into that No. 4 spot. She said her Lobos “shot themselves in the foot” with rounds of 303 and 300 and the best they could hope for on Tuesday was to grab the No. 4 spot. Their 288 pushed them past San Francisco by a single stroke – 891 to 892. San Francisco shot a 302 on Tuesday to drop into the No. 5 spot.
“The team that showed up today is the team I know we have,” said Trujillo. “It was really fun to watch. What a change in Manon Molle over the last two days. Her attitude was so much better and she was positive about her golf and her scores showed it. Sofia played strong for the team.
“This is a start. This round (288) is what they are capable of. Sometimes they go out and try to complicate things. They went out today and played relaxed and focused, had fun, were hitting shots, making putts and there were a lot of smiles.”
Molle, a promising freshman, carded an ever-par 72 on Tuesday. Hoglund went from a 77 on Monday’s second 18 to a 1-under 71 on Tuesday. Molle also had a 77 on Monday’s second round. De Roey had a final-round 74. You package those scores with Stevens’ 71 and – well, you get a 288. San Jose State had the best round of the day at 287.
De Roey, Hoglund and Molle tied for the 31st spot with 54-hole cards of 227. Freshman Katerina Jaeger shot 234, but her first-round of 76 counted for that day’s team total and eventually helped push UNM past San Francisco.
Stevens shared the Inkster/Spartan crown with Cal Fullerton’s Martina Edberg, who also went 71-71-71 and with Oregon’s Cathleen Santoso, who went 73-72-68. There were only four rounds in the 60s over 54 holes and all four came over the final 18 holes.
“I was solid every day,” said Stevens. “I had a handful of birdies which helps because you will always have a few mistakes, so you need the birdies.”
Stevens appeared to be heading for the outright win, but had back to back bogeys which left her one shot off the lead with two holes to go. She was playing in a threesome with Edberg. Stevens had gone from 1-up to 1-down and Edberg had a little momentum.
“I knew exactly where we stood,” said Stevens. “I was one-down with two holes to go and I said to myself: ‘you have to make a birdie somewhere.’”
The best hole for the bird was the next hole – the par-5 seventh hole which was her 17th hole since the shotgun start began her round on No. 9. Her third shot from 80 yards out had her looking at a 7-foot putt for birdie.
“I had to make it if I had any chance to stay in it,” said Stevens. “It felt good to my eye, a left-edge putt.”
She made it. Stevens then was looking over a 4-foot putt on her final hole – a par-3. “I didn’t feel nervous at all,” said Stevens. “I just wanted to knock it in and go to a playoff.”
On this day, there was no playoff, but three champions – and Stevens was one of them.