Romero Wins San Diego State Classic

SAN DIEGO — Oregon women’s golf freshman Kiara Romero ran away with her second individual win of the season on Tuesday, shooting a 4-under 68 in the final round of the San Diego StateClassic to win by five strokes at The Farms Golf Club. Her 9-under 207 for the week tied for the fourth-best individual 54-hole performance in program history.

Romero now has two wins in just five stroke-play tournaments to start her career – she won the Annika Intercollegiate in her Duck debut in September – becoming the seventh player in Oregon history to win multiple tournaments in a season. 

“Kiara was lights out this week,” head coach Derek Radley said. “To play as well as she did across a really long 36-hole day yesterday and then come back out today and perform at an even higher level, it really speaks to her talent and all of the hard work she has put in. She carried our team this week and I couldn’t be more proud of her for getting her second win. I can’t wait to see what she does the next time out.”

Behind Romero’s stellar finish, the No. 7 Ducks held their position on the final day with an 11-over 299 to finish third at 25-over par. No. 6 South Carolina won the team title at 16 over, with No. 23 Virginia in second at 17 over.

How it Happened: Romero entered the final round with a one-stroke lead at 5-under par, after an opening day that included a 3-under 69 with the first hole-in-one of her collegiate career.

Romero opened Tuesday with a bogey on No. 1 – just her fifth of the tournament – but was error-free the rest of the way. She made back-to-back birdies at No. 4 and No. 5 to get under par, and added another at No. 8 before making the turn with a 2-under 34. 

The San Jose native held just a one-stroke lead entering the back nine, but a birdie at No. 10 coupled with a bogey by Virginia’s Amanda Sambach quickly grew that lead to three strokes. Another birdie at No. 14 pushed Romero’s lead to five strokes, and she cruised to victory from there with four straight pars. 

Romero has now shot par-or-better in 13 of her first 15 rounds as a Duck, including five sub-70 performances. She was the only player in the field to shoot in the 60s multiple times this week.

On a day where the best team performance was 8-over par, Romero and the Ducks slowly worked their way back into the conversation for the team title. Oregon was just three strokes back of the lead midway through the back nine, before South Carolina and Virginia put together a run of birdies in the final holes. 

Senior Minori Nagano came in with a 1-over 73 in the final round to finish in a tie for 18th overall, and freshman Ting-Hsuan Huang contributed a 6-over 78. Seniors Ashleigh Park and Ching-Tzu Chen both shot 8 over to round out Oregon’s counting scores. 

Ducks on the Leaderboard:

3. Oregon – 300-290-299 – 889 (+25)

1. Kiara Romero – 69-70-68 – 207 (-9)

T18. Minori Nagano – 80-72-73 – 225 (+9)

T30. Ching-Tzu Chen – 73-77-80 – 230 (+14)

T38. Ashleigh Park – 82-71-80 – 233 (+17)

50. Ting-Hsuan Huang – 78-86-78 – 242 (+26)

Notable: Romero joins Cathryn Bristow (2005-06) and Anika Heuser (1996-97) as the only Ducks to win multiple tournaments as a true freshman … Romero was the best player in the field on par-3 (-4) and par-4 (-3) holes, and her 12 total birdies tied for second-most among all players … Oregon’s 172 total pars were the second-most in the field … The Ducks have now placed in the top three in four of their first five stroke-play tournaments this season.

Up Next: Oregon will return to action at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on March 4-6.