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Friday August 12th

After missing cut at ACC Championships, UNC women's golf prepares for NCAA Regionals

<p>UNC Women's Golf player Krista Junkkari on the Finley Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications&nbsp;</p>
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UNC Women's Golf player Krista Junkkari on the Finley Golf Course on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of UNC Athletic Communications 

The UNC women’s golf team missed the final cut to play on Sunday of the ACC Championship after a weekend full of impressive individual performances.

What happened?

This past weekend, North Carolina’s women’s golf team competed in the ACC Championship at The Reserve Golf Club of Pawleys Island, S.C. After a rather disappointing season for the Tar Heels, this team was determined to make a splash in this culminating tournament. All year, the ACC has been a conference full of tough competitors, and it certainly showed this weekend as well. 

At the conclusion of the third round on Saturday, Wake Forest, Florida State, Duke and Virginia all rounded out the top four spots heading into the final round on Sunday. Of the teams that missed Sunday’s cut, Clemson was first out finishing ten strokes behind UVA, and UNC finished just two strokes behind them, also missing the cut. 

Regardless of Saturday’s final results, the Tar Heels posted some stand-out rounds throughout the course of this tournament.

Who stood out? 

After two rounds, junior Krista Junkkari sat at second place on the leaderboard at an impeccable five strokes under par. Junkkari posted a score of 70 in round one followed by a score of 69 in round two. The Finnish phenom birdied eight holes and only bogeyed three in her stellar first two rounds. She unfortunately fell apart during her third round as she shot an 80 on the day bringing her down eleven spots on the final individual leaderboard. However, her third round collapse should not distract anyone from her amazing play in the first and second rounds of the tournament.

Junior Kayla Smith and sophomore Natalia Aseguinolaza both rounded out the top 20 on the individual leaderboard after round three. Smith played the second-best round of the day at one under par, and Aseguinolaza posted four birdies on the day totalling UNC’s most for the day. While Aseguinolaza’s final position tied at 19th was the Spaniard's best finish, Smith has been consistent all year as she recorded her sixth finish in the top-20 this season.

When was it decided?

Although Junkkari made her mark on this event from the jump, the tournament was decided early on by the all-round dominant performances by the aforementioned top-four teams. Wake Forest took the top spot after the first three rounds totalling nearly 30 strokes ahead of the Tar Heels. Virginia at the fourth spot was a bit less out of reach with a total team score just 12 strokes ahead of UNC. Aside from a few outstanding performances, North Carolina seemed to have dug itself in a hole early on. The next best from the team after Junkkari, Smith and Aseguinolaza was sophomore Crista Izuzquiza finishing at the 48th spot on the leaderboard. 

Why does it matter?

While there was a lot to take away from this weekend from Junkkari’s dominant first two rounds to Smith and Aseguinolaza’s great final days, there is still a lot to work on for the Tar Heels as a program. After a season full of finishes in the middle of the pack, this team needs to learn to be more consistent across rounds, especially in tournaments like the ACC Championship. Nonetheless, UNC women’s golf is undoubtedly heading in the right direction, and, aside from a few tweaks here and there, they should be excited for the future of this team.

When do they play next?

Next up on the schedule for the Tar Heels is a trip to the NCAA Regionals. While the location has still yet to be announced, they will tee off on Monday, May 9.

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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