With three other sports canceling games due to bad weather, the No. 21-ranked Purdue women’s golf team decided to fight through the rain and finish the last of three rounds in the Lady Boilermaker Classic.
After finding themselves in second place following the first two rounds on Saturday, the Boilers needed a strong comeback to win what would have been their first title of the season, coming in as runners-up three times this season.
Early in the morning, the final 18 holes were in danger of being canceled after rain hit the West Lafayette area throughout the night. However, due to a recent redesign of the Ackerman-Allen Course, the greens were deemed playable.
“The new construction with good drainage allowed us to get out there and play the greens,” head coach Devon Brouse said. “The greens determine whether you can play or not. Yes, there’s water everywhere, but as long as we could get through that first hour-and-a-half of continued rain, then we were fine and I’m glad we did play.”
Freshman Inez Wanamarta and sophomore Micaela Farah both tied for fourth overall, the highest individual finish for any Boilermaker. Wanamarta and junior Covadonga SanJuan each posted a 71 in different rounds, the lowest round scores for the team on the weekend.
While Purdue posted the best team score in the final round, it couldn’t close the hefty gap on Texas Tech, which had a strong first two rounds.
“It was a good fight,” Brouse said. “We were 11 back starting, and we actually got the lead at one point, so that’s encouraging to grind and fight. We added a couple under par with three or four holes to go, and that’s good golf.”
Wanamarta has had quite the season, beginning with winning the individual title at the first tournament of the year, the Minnesota Invitational.
However, after the win, the struggles came.
Falling to injury after Minnesota, she was unable to perform up to par for the rest of the first half of the season. Coming into 2018, Wanamarta wanted to make a strong impact and help the already good team become great.
“I wanted to make sure I could bring what I could for the team,” Wanamarta said after the final match of the regular season. “I felt that was very important because, obviously you can see that we’re a pretty strong team, but we’re not the strongest. So it’s better if we can just keep moving forward and getting better.”
Through the early season struggles, Wanamarta still developed as a player. Constantly being at the No. 1 spot helped the freshman learn from some of the best players in college golf as the team faced tough competition at every tournament.
“She’s had some great experiences this year,” Brouse said. “She’s had the challenge of playing No. 1 a lot for us this year. And as a freshman, that is a challenge. So to play with the best on a lot of good teams, whether it’s Arizona State, Duke, Texas Tech, whoever, that’s good experience for her to gain. So hopefully, that’s gonna pay off before the end of this year, and into the future.”
Heading into the Big Ten Championships next week in Maineville, Ohio, on the TPC River’s Bend course, Purdue will face strong competition in the conference. The expected favorites for the tournament are No. 12 Michigan State and No. 14 Northwestern.
Following the conference championships, the team will head to NCAA regionals in early May and, assuming the team qualifies, the NCAA Championships at the end of May.