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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC women's golf finished 14th in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate tournament


UNC junior Kayla Smith obtained her first career top-10 finish at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational.
Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications. 

The North Carolina Tar Heels women’s golf team headed into the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate tournament this week, finishing 14th out of 17 teams.

What happened?

The Tar Heels got off on the wrong foot on the first day of the tournament, as the team shot a collective 302 which put them 15 strokes behind the lead. They did see some improvement over the next two days of the tournament by improving their score to 297 in both days, but they would still fall short of the mark. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons took first place in the tournament with a score of 861, which was nine strokes better than the runner-up South Carolina Gamecocks.

Who stood out? 

For the event's individual performances, sophomore Nicole Adam finished tied for 27th. She had her best performance on Monday, the first day of the tournament, when she shot a 72 and then followed up that performance with scores of 75 and 73 in the next two days. 

Junior Kayla Smith was the next best performer for the Tar Heels, as she finished tied for 33rd followed by junior Krista Junkkari, who finished tied for 46th. Smith got off to a good start but did not do as well on the second and third days, while the reverse was true for Junkkari. Adam’s consistency is a key part of what the Tar Heels must have in their program going forward if they are to become more successful. 

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels found themselves trailing by a large deficit right away after the first day of the tournament. Given how difficult it is for any team to bounce back from a large deficit in golf, there was not much reason to hope that the Tar Heels may have had a chance to stake a comeback. Even with strong performances from players like Adam, Smith and Junkkari, the Tar Heels could not pull together a complete team performance. 

Why does it matter?

The Tar Heels had a rough tournament, but they hope to use the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow as a team while they head further into the season. Key players like Nicole Adam are going to be significant when it comes to building and maintaining consistent performances, a quality that is especially key in the game of golf. 

North Carolina has shown glimmers of success, especially in the tournaments last season where it finished in fourth place to open the Briar Creek tournament and in sixth to open the Gamecock intercollegiate tournament.  As much as the Tar Heels would like to get back into that mode of success that they had last season, it is important for them to learn from the experience that they gained this week and use it to improve moving forward.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels hope to have a better performance when they head to the Clover Cup tournament in Mesa, Arizona, from March 11th to March 13th. 

@dthsports |

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