The ninth-ranked Purdue women's golf team used a strong finish to earn a share of the Big Ten Championships title, recording a 297 on Sunday to tie at 884 with No. 24 Northwestern in French Lick, Ind.
Purdue senior Paula Reto won her first individual Big Ten championship by turning in a three-round, four-under par 212. It is the sixth-consecutive Big Ten medal for the Boilermakers, extending their conference record. Reto (71-71-70=212, -4) defeated the second-place finisher, Caroline Powers (75-73-71=219, +3) by seven strokes. Coming into the weekend, Powers was ranked No. 23 by Golfweek and Reto No. 27. The Boilermakers (293-294-297=884) trailed Northwestern (287-295-302=884) by five strokes after the second round, but shot a 297 to the Wildcats' 302 to finish in a tie. The teams agreed to be declared co-champions. In the final three holes, the players that recorded Purdue's four counting scores, shot par or better. Reto had two pars and a birdie, while Kishi Sinha, Aurora Kan and Margaux Vanmol parred out. Defending Big Ten champions and No. 25-ranked Michigan State finished in third place. The Spartans recorded the low team total of the day with 289, but finished five strokes behind the winners with a three-round total of 889.
Sinha, a redshirt senior for Purdue, shot a 77 on Sunday to tie for seventh place. It is by far her best finish in at the Big Ten Championships, surpassing her previous best of a tie for 40th last year. The New Dehli, India, native totaled 223 for three rounds after recording 73s in her first two rounds. Kan, a sophomore who had finished fifth or tied for fifth in her last two tournaments, tied for ninth. She had a 74 in the final round for a total of 224. The Chichester, Pa., native opened play with a 74 and shot a 76 on Saturday. Freshman Vanmol had an impressive tournament, tying for 16th place with a 226. The native of Belgium shot a 76 on Sunday after going 76-74 in the first two rounds.
Senior Laura Gonzalez-Escallon was unable to repeat as Big Ten medalist, finishing tied for 35 with a total of 233. The La Hulpe, Belgium, native closed with an 81. She had fired a 75 in the first round, followed by a 77 on Saturday. Freshman Brooke Beegle tied shot an 83 in the last round to tie for 59th with a 243. The Fishers, Ind., native's best round was Saturday's 76. She opened play with an 84. The six-member Big Ten All-Championships team was lead by Purdue's Reto and included three Spartans: Allyssa Ferrell, Christine Meier and Powers along with Northwestern's Kaitlin Park and Katlyn Elliot of Penn State. Purdue's team victory is its sixth conference championship and the first since 2010.
Purdue's Devon Brouse is in his 15th season as the head coach for both the Purdue men's and women's golf programs and is responsible for all six Big Ten Championships titles. Reto’s individual tournament victory was the third of the season and the fifth of her career. Her previous best finish at the conference tournament was ninth place (2011) and a tie for ninth (2010). Last season the Cape Town, South Africa, native finished tied for 10 with a 223.
The Boilermakers await their fate as the NCAA Regional fields will be announced Monday at 9 p.m. ET on NCAA.com. Highlights of the 2013 Big Ten Women's Golf Championships will air Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. ET on BTN.