NEW ORLEANS - LSU junior Megan McChrystal holed a 20-plus foot birdie putt on the 54th and final hole Sunday afternoon to score a one-shot victory in the Tiger-Wave Golf Classic at English Turn Golf and Country Club.
McChrystal posted a three-under 69 on the day to go with rounds of 72-72 to finish at three-under par 213, one shot ahead of Calle Nielson of Virginia who was unable to match McChrystal over the final three holes. Nielson entered the final three holes tied with McChrystal, although she was three holes ahead of the LSU player in the shotgun. So while McChrystal played the par four 16th, par three 17th and par four 18th, Nielson faced a par four, a par five and par three on holes one, two and three.
With both players at two-under, McChrystal birdied the 16th, but gave the stroke back on the 17th to remain tied while Nielson was paring one and two. But the Stuart, Fla., native put LSU in the individual winner's circle with a birdie putt of over 20 foot that she dropped in the cup while Nielson was making her third straight par.
In winning the third tournament of her college career, McChrystal had five birdies and two bogeys on the round and for the tournament, McChrystal was an impressive five-under par on the par four holes and one-under on the par threes. Nielson countered by going four-under on the par fives.
McChrystal is now tied for third with former LSU All-Americans Ashley Winn and Meredith Duncan at three collegiate wins and only Kristi Coats (6) and Jenny Lidback (7) have won more golf tournaments at LSU. It was McChrystal's 10th top 10 finish.
"I had a few hiccups here and there (Sunday)," McChrystal said. "But, this golf course is very tough and you have to just keep fighting all the way around. I am pretty happy with how I played under the conditions. It was a lot of fun."
"I was very proud of Megan," said LSU Coach Karen Bahnsen. "She played very steady all week, especially in that wind. "The person that was going to win this golf tournament was the person who controls their distance and their ball trajectory. She did a great job of that and played intelligent golf. She made a huge putt on that last hole. She didn't know where she stood or anything but went through her routine and made the putt. I'm very pleased for her."
The wind which gusted upwards of 30 mph on Saturday, were only a factor in the final couple of hours of the event on Sunday which started under calm, cool conditions with all teams on the course in the shotgun play. But that allowed for a team competition that had many twists and turns on a day when Auburn and LSU were tied for the 36-hole lead with TCU and first-round leader Alabama also in the final groupings.
TCU jumped out seven-under par early to take the advantage before the Horned Frogs came back and LSU moved into the advantage a couple of shots ahead of Auburn heading to the final six holes.
Auburn proceeded to post eight birdies and one eagle while at the same time TCU was posting 11 bogies and one double, while LSU was struggling with a 12-over counting score in the same period. That allowed Auburn to post a score of even par 288 and the second-ranked Auburn Tigers finished at 25-over 889 (305-296-288). TCU was second, seven shots back at 896 (305-298-293) with Alabama sneaking ahead of LSU in third at 897 (293-314-290). The Lady Tigers finished with a 12-over 300 on the day to finish at 37-over 901 (294-307-300).
"I'm pleased with what we did over the three days," said Bahnsen. "Am I pleased with how we finished? No. Do the girls like the way they played those few holes? No. The question is, are we going to build on it and get better? The difference (Sunday) was they let the frustration get to them once they had a couple of misses and had some bad holes. Just the pressure they put on themselves knowing they were in contention, they wanted to win real badly and frustration got the best of them in the end. That's just a growing process and next time I think they will handle it better."
On the final day, LSU also counted a three-over 75 from Tessa Teachman to finish at four-over 220, giving her a second straight top 10, finishing in solo fifth place. The other counters were six-over 78s from Amalie Valle and Jacqueline Hedwall. Nicole Crochet competed as an individual in the tournament and her best round of the weekend, a two-over 74.
The tournament, hosted by both LSU and Tulane at the former home of the New Orleans PGA Tour Stop because of the ongoing renovation of the LSU University Club, proved to be a big success with a tournament record 23 teams and a field of 123 golfers, making McChrystal's victory even more impressive.
"First of all I really enjoyed hosting the tournament here," Bahnsen said of the weekend. "English Turn is a great place and the staff was wonderful to all of us. Hosting with Tulane was really neat and it was great to have the two schools come together and do this."
Tiger-Wave Golf Classic
New Orleans, La.
Final Team Results (Par 288-864)
1. Auburn 305-296-288 - 889 +25; 2. TCU 305-298-293 - 896 +32; 3. Alabama 293-314-290 - 897 +33; 4. LSU 294-307-300 - 901 +37; 5. Virginia 296-315-291 - 902 +38; 6. Tennessee 305-311-289 - 905 +41; 7. Georgia 307-313-286 - 906 +42; 8. North Carolina 302-312-295 - 909 +45; 9. Wake Forest 314-315-293 - 912 +48; 10. Ole Miss 300-321-296 - 917 +53; 11. Vanderbilt 303-325-291 - 919 +55; 12. Arkansas 314-316-293 - 923 +59; 13. Notre Dame 310-314-300 - 924 +60; 14. Purdue 303-327-296 - 926 +62; 15. North Carolina State 306-319-302 - 927 +63; 16. Tulane 305-327-300 - 932 +68; 16. Furman 305-334-293 - 932 +68; 18. Louisville 313-317-304 - 934 +70; 19. Charleston 313-318-304 - 935 +71; 20. Kentucky 308-326-312 - 946 +82; 21. UNC-Wilmington 322-324-314 - 960 +96; 22. UCF 321-325-315 - 961 +97; 23 Mississippi State 320-331-318 - 969 +105.
Individual Top 10 (Par 72-216)
1. Megan McChrystal, LSU, 72-72-69 - 213 -3; 2. Calle Nielson, Virginia, 73-72-69 - 214 -2; 3. Cydney Clanton, Auburn, 73-71-71 - 215 -1; 4. Candace Schepperle, Auburn, 76-76-67 - 219 +3; 5. Tessa Teachman, LSU, 70-75-75 - 220 +4; 6. Nathalie Mansson, Tennessee, 76-77-68 - 221 +5; 6. Rachel Raastad, TCU, 78-71-72 - 221 +5; 6. Marina Alex, Vandy, 75-77-69 - 221 +5; 9. Emilie Burger, Georgia, 81-75-66 -222 +6; 9. Brooke Pancake, Alabama, 70-80-72 - 222 +6; 9. Camilla Lennarth, Alabama, 72-75-75 - 222 +6.
1. Megan McChrystal 72-72-69 - 213 -3
T5. Tessa Teachman 70-75-75 - 220 +4
T64. Amalie Valle 74-84-78 - 236 +20
T64. Jacqueline Hedwall 78-80-78 - 236 +20
T64. Nicole Crochet 77-85-74 -- 236
T90. Abby Oberthier 81-80-80 - 241 +25