LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech sophomore Sofia Garcia strung together another late-round charge Tuesday en route to sharing medalist honors at the Illini Invitational held at the prestigious Medinah Country Club just outside of Chicago.
Garcia sank birdies on four of her last six holes and posted just one bogey on her way to a 3-under-par 69 round that pushed her to a 9-under 207 final card, which was tied with the Kent State duo of Karoline Stormo and Michaela Finn. It marks the first medalist honor of Garcia's career and first by a Red Raider since Gabby Barker at the Lady Boilermaker Classic last April.
"I am so proud of Sofia for her great play this week," Tech head coach JoJo Robertson said. "She has overcome a lot in the last year and has been so anxious to compete again. She asked me where she stood with five holes to play. At that time, she was two back, so she knew exactly what she had to do. It was pretty impressive to watch."
The four late birdies jumped Garcia's tournament total to 16, which led the 84-player field. The Red Raiders drained a tournament-high 49 birdies as team, 16 of which came Tuesday when Tech fired a 2-under 286 for the second-consecutive round.
Tech closed the tournament at 4-under 860, moving up three spots from Monday into sole possession of fifth place. The Red Raiders topped several highly-ranked teams in No. 19 San Jose State (6th), No. 26 SMU (9th), No. 35 Virginia Tech (13th) and No. 36 East Carolina (15th).
In addition to Garcia, Tech received a similar 3-under final round from Mami Yamamoto, who combined to shoot 4-under over the final 36 holes to close the tournament in a tie for 43rd at 4-over with teammate Anna Dong.
Dong as well as Amy Taylor and Cecilie Nielsen all recorded 2-over final rounds to round out the Tech lineup. Nielsen dropped into a tie for 33rd overall at 2-over for the tournament, while Taylor moved to 9-over and in a tie for 71st on the individual leaderboard.
Purdue claimed the team title as the Boilermakers were 27-under for the tournament, four strokes better than second place Kent State. Illinois closed its home event at 19-under in third place followed by Miami one stroke back in fourth.
The Red Raiders will have just over a week off before resuming their fall state at the Betsy Rawls Invitational in Austin. Tech will head to the state capital for the three-day tournament on Oct. 19-21.