• Daniel Hooker

Western Carolina Women’s Golf Claims Third-Straight Team Title to Open Fall

With four members of its scoring five among the individual Top 10 finishers, the Western Carolina women’s golf team claimed an unprecedented third-consecutive team championship on Tuesday, winning the Jupiter Women’s Invitational hosted by Florida Atlantic University at the par-70, 5,890-yard Jonathan’s Landing Golf Club.

Fifth-year senior Madison Isaacson just missed consecutive medalist honors, firing a three-round score of 212 (73-66-73) – the second-best 54-hole score in program history – to finish in the runner-up spot to pace the Catamounts. The Greensboro, N.C., product was joined in the Top 10 by sophomore Elizabeth Lohbauer in a three-way tie for third place, three strokes off the pace at 214 – the third-best score in school history – with freshman Brie Mapanao (216) finishing tied for seventh and senior Victoria Ladd (217) coming home in a three-way tie for 10th. Isaacson's 54-hole score of 212 comes a week after she set the program record with a 206 at the Aggie Invitational. Collectively, WCU's three-round score of 858 marked the second-best in program history, also coming a week after rewriting the record books with an 848 in Greensboro.

In third place after Monday’s opening round, the Catamounts vaulted to the top of the leaderboard by tying the school record-low round of 278 in the second 18 holes. The Catamounts held off Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday, cruising to the seven-stroke victory over the Eagles, 858-to-865, to secure its third-straight team victory to open the fall 2022 semester. Troy finished third, eight strokes off the pace at 866 with Stetson (878) and mountain-rival UNC Asheville (885) rounding out the top five.

Using a final-round, 2-under par round of 68, FGCU’s Anna Claire Bridge overtook Isaacson atop the leaderboard to claim medalist honors by a stroke, 211-to-212. Madyson Gold of UNCA climbed 15 positions, Clemence Cadeac of FAU up 11, and Lohbauer advanced six spots to comprise the three-way tie for third.

“I am so unbelievably proud of this team. They are the definition of what a team should be and it’s paying off,” said WCU head coach Courtney Gunter. “This was a tricky golf course and the wind really picked up today. But we stuck to our game plan and stayed strong to the end.”

After matching the school record for low 18-hole score in Monday’s second round, Isaacson carried a one-stroke lead into Tuesday and hovered around the top two positions throughout the final round. Beginning on the front nine, she made the turn to home at even-par with a birdie and a bogey to accompany seven pars. She matched with seven pars on the back nine, moving to 1-over par with a bogey on the par-3 11th. Isaacson was poised to carry the lead to the top of the podium before a double-bogey on the final hole of the tournament relegated her to 3-over 73 for the round and the runner-up position. Isaacson finished with a team-best 35 pars over the 54-hole event, adding nine birdies.

Lohbauer clawed her way from a ninth-place tie to finish tied for third overall with the team’s best final round score of even-par 70. Two birdies against a pair of bogeys left her making the turn at even par. The Venice, Fla., native moved to 1-under par for the second time in the round with a birdie on the par-4 13th but slipped back to even with a bogey on the par-3 14th before shooting par on the final four holes of the day. Lohbauer was tied for the tournament lead in par 5 scoring at 2-under par (4.78).

Freshman Brie Mapanao slid two spots in the standings to finish tied for seventh with senior Victoria Ladd down one spot into a three-way tie for 10th overall. Mapanao had a pair of double-bogeys with her team-best 10th birdie of the event on Tuesday to post the second-lowest round of her career at 216, while Ladd carded a trio of birdies against six bogeys to shoot 73 for a final tally of 217 to match her career-best 54-hole score shot as a sophomore in 2020-21.

Rounding out WCU’s scoring five was redshirt sophomore Kayleigh Baker who finished in a tie for 31st overall, posting her fifth birdie of the event on Tuesday for a three-round score of 229. Her first-round 75 counted among WCU’s scores helping the Catamounts to its third-straight victory.

Western Carolina returns to action Oct. 17-18 in Goose Creek, S.C., for the Buccaneer Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern at the Crowfield Golf Course just outside of North Charleston, S.C. WCU’s fall finale is a 54-hole tournament that will be contested over two days with 36 holes of continuous play on Oct. 17 with the final round on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

1 – Western Carolina – 291 – 278 – 289 = 858 (+18)

2 – Madison Isaacson – 73-66-73 = 212 (+2)

T3 – Elizabeth Lohbauer – 70-74-70 = 214 (+4)

T7 – Brie Mapanao – 76-67-73 = 216 (+6)

T10 – Victoria Ladd – 73-71-73 = 217 (+7)

T31 – Kayleigh Baker – 75-75-79 = 229 (+19)

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