Two Tigers Advance as Individuals, No. 14 Women's Golf Bows Out of NCAA III Championship
HOUSTON - A fierce battle raged through all 18 holes of the 2022 NCAA III Women's Golf Championship's third round Thursday as No. 14 Trinity University entered the day on the brink of elimination. Despite falling just four strokes short of the cutoff line as a unit (954; +90), sophomore Kiona Hsiu (Missouri City, Texas / Elkins) and first-year Alejandra Sanchez De la Fuente Molino (Marbella, Spain / Atalaya) will remain in the field for the final round as the third and fourth-highest remaining individual players.
Trinity, again, started from the 10th tee of the 5,866-yard Bay Oaks Country Club par-72 course Thursday, only 10 minutes later than Wednesday's 12:20 p.m. CT start, with the pairings shuffled by team scores. Notably, the Tigers wound up playing alongside the day's eventual key opponent, St. Catherine University (MN), and took the battle for the 15th spot with Wildcats down to the final couple holes.
A par-five birdie on the 11th pin from sophomore Erin Flynn (League City, Texas / Clear Falls) briefly delayed the Tigers' sluggish start to Thursday's round as Trinity was already two-over through the first two holes. Consecutive birdies from Sanchez De la Fuente Molino, a theme for the day from the rookie, on the 15th and 16th helped the Tigers battle back into frame.
The Tigers managed to collectively shoot 10-over after the turn to the front nine thanks to a dominant display from the Spaniard with four straight birds across the fourth through seventh holes which pulled her round back to even. Flynn doubled down on the successful par-five seventh with her second birdie of the afternoon.
As the sun began to set over the Bay Oaks Country Club, the battling crowds of the Tigers and Wildcats met to greet their squads on the ninth green, welcoming players back one-by-one as the final results began to take shape. With the round coming down to the wire, Hsiu gave Trinity back-to-back birds on the eighth and ninth, the latter of which came on a well-executed strike from the tee down the right side of the fairway, followed by one of the most impressive shots of the day up the final 50 yards onto the green for a birdie putt of no more than four feet.
Despite the valiant effort late, Trinity fell four shots away from the cutoff. The excellent play of Hsiu and Sanchez De la Fuente Molino down the stretch, however, solidified their chance at Friday's final round. Kiona battled to finish the day with a 77 (+5) to land in a tie for 15th overall while Alejandra shot up the chart with her three-under front nine for a 72 (E) to land one shot behind the sophomore, tied for 17th.
Kiona Hsiu led the 151-player field in par-four scoring through three rounds as the only player to remain even on the 10 holes through the course in that category.
Alejandra Sanchez De la Fuente Molino is tied for second overall with an astounding five-under mark on par-fives through three rounds. She also leds the NCAA III field with 13 birdies for the event, six of which came in Thursday's round.
The 2022 NCAA III Women's Golf National Championship concludes with one more trip around the Bay Oaks Country Club Friday for No. 14 Trinity Women's Golf's two advancing individuals.