NASHVILLE — The Oregon women’s golf team completed arguably the most impressive weekend in program history on Sunday with another tremendous round, shooting a 9-under 279 to run away with the team title at the Mason Rudolph Championship.
Oregon finished the weekend with an astounding 26-under 838, shattering the previous 54-hole program records for both total score (846) and score vs. par (-16). The Ducks opened the 2021-22 season with the second tournament win of the Derek Radley era, and the 31st in program history.
“Four years in, this is really just a testament to the culture that we’ve been trying to cultivate here at the University of Oregon,” Radley said. “Coach Monica Vaughn and I have been pushing for the belief that we can be one of the very best teams in the country, especially with the resources and facilities that we have available to us at Oregon.
Sophomore Hsin-Yu Cynthia Lu finished off an incredible weekend to claim the individual title, becoming the first Duck since 2018 to win individual medalist honors. After posting rounds of 66 and 68 to take a two-shot lead into Sunday, Lu fired off a 7-under 65 finish 17-under par and win the individual title by six shots.
Lu’s 17-under weekend shattered the previous program record (-12) for an individual across 54 holes, and her 7-under 65 is tied for the third-best single round in program history. Lu made seven birdies on Sunday – including three in her final four holes – and she finished the weekend with a streak of 42 consecutive holes without making a bogey.
“Cynthia flipped the switch this week,” Radley said. “She was just so poised and rock solid all weekend long. We always knew she was capable of putting together a tournament like this, but she really proved it to herself this weekend. It was something special to watch.”
The Ducks opened Sunday with a four-shot lead over Alabama, and ended up winning by a whopping 14 strokes after shooting 9 under in the final round. Oregon’s 12-under 276 in the first round and 9-under 279 in the third round both rank in the top five in program history.
Lu fired a bogey-free 4-under 68 on Saturday, and she was even better on Sunday. She opened the round with a birdie, and added two more at No. 4 and No. 7 to make the turn at 3 under. Lu ripped off four more birdies on the back nine, and her teammates greeted her with a water bottle bath on No. 18 after her seventh and final birdie of the day.
“I wasn’t expecting to play that well this weekend,” Lu said. “I wasn’t striking the ball that well going into it, but our coaches kept challenging and pushing me to get better. I started hitting the ball better and the putts started to fall for me.
“My teammates played great – it was a total team effort. We’re getting so much better than we were last season. We are always pushing each other and are working hard every day. Everyone is improving and we’re all very excited about the potential of this team this season.”
It wasn’t all Lu for the Ducks on Sunday, as the rest of the lineup combined to shoot 1-under par. Ching-Tzu Chen and Briana Chacon both finished with a 1-under 71, with Chen going bogey-free on the back nine and Chacon making birdie on her final two holes to dip below par.
A second-team all-American last season, Chacon shot par-or-better in all three rounds this weekend and finished in a tie for 10th place individually.
Sofie Kibsgaard-Nielsen rounded out the counting scores for Oregon with an even-par 72, and Tze-Han (Heather) Lin was right behind with a 1-over 73. Lin tied for 19th individually at 1 under for the weekend, giving Oregon three players in the top 20.
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Oregon was the only team in the field to place all five of its players in the top 30 of the individual standings. On the weekend, no Duck shot worse than 2 over in a single round.
“We left a lot out there,” Radley said. “That’s a great part about golf is we can always get better. We’re going to continue to push them and continue to turn weaknesses into strengths. We’re only one tournament into this year and we’re just going to continue to elevate our standard every time we go out.”
The Ducks returned their entire starting lineup from the team that missed NCAA match play by just two strokes last spring, and this weekend showed how valuable having all of that experience back can be for a team. Oregon’s historic performance is just the first chapter in what is sure to be a storied season for the Ducks.
Lu claimed the 35th individual tournament win in program history, and the first since Lin tied for first at the 2018-19 Pac-12 Preview. Lu is the first Duck to win a tournament outright since Cathleen Santoso at the 2015-16 Silverado Showdown.
Oregon’s fall season will continue on Oct. 4-5 at the Windy City Classic in Chicago.
Ducks on the Leaderboard:
T10. Briana Chacon – 69-72-71 – 212 (-4)
T19. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin – 70-72-73 – 215 (-1)
T23. Ching-Tzu Chen – 74-71-71 – 216 (E)
T27. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen – 71-74-72 – 217 (+1)