Fabulous Finish for Women’s Golf at MAC Championship

Fabulous Finish for Women’s Golf at MAC Championship

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Saving the best for last.
It was an historic day for Ashley Goh and her Central Michigan women’s golf teammates on Sunday at Kalamazoo Country Club during the final round of the Mid-American Conference Championship.
Goh shot a blistering 4-under par 68 to lead the Chippewas to a 295 team score and a 54-hole 912 total, good for third place in the 10-team field.
It marked, by far, CMU’s best finish as a team in the league tournament since the program’s rebirth in 2014-15.
Goh’s 68 tied for the best round in program history and was the best round of any player in the three-day tournament.
She finished fourth with a 221 total, six shots behind medalist Leon Takagi of Kent State. CMU’s Casilda Allendasalazar closed with a 1-over 73 to finish at 224 and in sixth place.
CMU’s previous best finish in the MAC Championship was eighth in 2022. Goh’s fourth-place finish is the best for a Chippewa in the history of the event and, coupled with Allendesalazar’s sixth, marks the first time CMU has had two top-10 placers in the MAC Championship.
Goh recorded CMU’s only top-10 finish in the event last season when she tied for ninth.
“I am extremely happy with the performance and the result from the weekend, absolutely,” first-year CMU coach Ryan Williams said. “We definitely leave here satisfied.”
The Chippewas finished four shots behind runner-up Northern Illinois (908). Kent State, which is ranked 42nd nationally, won with an 875 team score. The Golden Flashes have won every MAC Championship since the tournament’s inception in 1999.
The Chippewas’ Sunday 295 tied for their second best round of the season and was by far their best score ever in the MAC Championship. Their 912 total shattered the previous program best in the event, a 958 in 2016.
CMU opened on Friday with a solid 304 and then posted a 317 under difficult conditions in Saturday’s second round. Their 617 was also a program best for 36 holes in the MAC Championship.
“Coming into this we expected it to be a battle, we expected it not to be pretty, not to be perfect,” Williams said. “That was the challenge and we prepared for it.
“We handled it really, really well, and that’s why you see kids who struggled one day have a couple really good days coming back from that. They didn’t lose confidence and they didn’t lose their attitude and they kept plugging away and that’s why we were able to cap off the weekend with a really, really great day (Sunday).
“It was a spectacular performance from the team. Very happy with that, absolutely.”
CMU’s Rachel Kauflin closed with her second straight 78 and finished tied for 16thwith a 231 total, while Padgett Chitty shot 76 on Sunday to finish tied for 36th. CMU’s Zoe Vartyan shot 87 on Sunday to tie for 41st at 247.
And while the contributions of Goh and Allendesalazar were critical, those of Kauflin, Chitty and Vartyan cannot be overlooked.
“When you look at all three days, those three pitched in exactly how we needed them to,” Williams said. “Each of them had some rounds where they really, really helped the team, held us in there and put us in the position that we were in (Sunday) and helped us cash in for that final performance.
“I know they each had days that they wish they had to do over, but at the end of the day they were instrumental in the final result of the team. Extremely happy with how they played.”
Goh overcame an opening-round 80 to shoot a 1-over 73 on Saturday, tying for the second best round of the day as she moved into a tie for 10th heading into the final round.
On Sunday, She reeled off three consecutive birdies to get to 3-under heading into No. 11.
She made bogey on 11 after putting her approach shot in the water, but recovered to finish birdie-par-birdie for her 68, which ties Allendesalazar for the low round in program history. Allendesalazar posted her 68 in February at the Falcon Florida Classic.
“I was struggling a little bit on the range (Sunday) morning,” Goh said. “It really started getting better from hole 8 onwards. That’s when I was sinking putts and then just hitting better shots.”
Goh, who has been a standout since joining the program three years ago from Malaysia, said she drew on the experiences of playing under pressure and delivering – her tie for ninth last year at the MAC Championship evidence of that.
“It’s definitely a big plus to have those experiences,” she said. “You’re just able to handle the pressure better. I just took (the bogey) and forgot about it and knew there were still holes to play and I just focused on those.”
Just as she did in putting her opening-round 80 behind her.
“It was really tough shooting 80 on the first day,” she said. “MAC is a really big tournament for me, and for all of us. I just tried to get the 80 out of my head and focus on the next two days.
“When I was playing round two, I just wanted to do something for the team, contribute, play better. I just had to keep my head in the game and just focus.”
Allendesalazar was tied for second after her first-round 1-under 71. She too had to draw on her vast tournament experience – she won three tournaments this season and finished in the top 10 in nine of the 11 tournaments in which CMU competed – in putting her second-round 80 in the rearview mirror.
She was 3-over through 12 holes on Sunday and then made three birdies in a four-hole stretch to bring it home.
“She certainly played well and rose to the occasion,” Williams said. “She battled back when things were tough and she had two really, really great rounds.
“She finished off her round (Sunday) really well, which just shows that she’s resilient and she’s mentally tough and she’s staying positive and hanging in there until the end. Really good to see.”


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