OWASSO, Okla. (March 19, 2019) – It didn’t take long for Oklahoma Christian and Kate Goodwin to assert themselves on Tuesday in the final round of the Hillcat Classic.
Goodwin, who entered the day at Bailey Ranch Golf Club tied for the lead, quickly took it all for herself and led a 1-2-3 OC finish as the Eagles – ranked No. 18 in NCAA Division II – cruised to a 14-shot win to repeat as the event’s team champion. It was the 12th win in the eight-year history of OC’s program, with three of those coming in the Hillcat Classic in the last four years.
Goodwin posted her second straight 2-over-par 74 on the 5,890-yard course to finish the tournament at 4-over 148, good for a three-shot win over teammate Abigail Rigsby. Rigsby finished three shots ahead of the third-place finisher, OC sophomore Shaley Goad.
It was the third time in program history that OC has posted a 1-2-3 finish at a tournament. Morgan Dockery, Catherine Odgers and Sarah Harper did it in the Diffie Ford-Lincoln Invitational at Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond in March 2013 and Audrey Meisch, Anna Arrese Cortadellas and Allison Sell did it in the Augustana Spring Fling at The Classic Club in Palm Desert, Calif., in March 2015.
Goodwin’s win was the fifth of her collegiate career and her second as a senior. The senior from Tulsa also won the individual title in the Dallas Baptist Match Play Invitational last September at The Golf Club of Dallas.
With the team win, OC now has won three tournaments in an academic year three times, also having done so in 2014-15 and 2015-16. OC, which won the Midwestern State Invitational at Wichita Falls Country Club in Wichita Falls, Texas, last week, has won consecutive tournaments for the first time since spring 2016, when the Eagles won the Diffie Ford-Lincoln Invitational and the Hillcat Classic (then played at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville).
When Tuesday’s round started, Goodwin was tied with Rogers State’s Jessica Green for the lead and the Eagles trailed Newman (Kan.) by one shot, with Rogers State in third a shot behind OC. Goodwin played a steady round with three birdies, allowing her to pull away from Green (who eventually finished eighth) and the field.
Goodwin’s only competition in the 59-woman field came from her teammates. Rigsby, a junior from Courtenay, British Columbia, had two birdies and her 74 put her at 151. Goad, a sophomore from Wheeler, Texas, posted her second top-three finish in as many events, finishing at 154 after her final-round 78.
With the top three finishers, it’s no surprise the Eagles began pulling away in the 12-team competition. OC jumped past Newman in the first few holes and steadily built its lead to double digits. The Eagles’ team score of 304 gave them an overall score of 613, with Newman (319) second at 627 and host Rogers State (333) third at 643.
Playing as an individual, OC sophomore Felicity Wittenberg of West Pymble, Australia, shot an 82 and tied for 35th at 173.
The Eagles’ next two tournaments will be played in Arizona in a five-day span. OC will compete in the Mustang Intercollegiate at Palm Valley Golf Club in Goodyear on April 5-6, then the West Texas Desert Invitational at The Lodge at Ventana Canyon in Tucson on April 8-9.
Rogers State was led by Jessica Green, who finished in eighth place after rounds of 74-84. One shot behind Green were Raquel Flores and Mariana Flores, who finished in a tie for ninth. Raquel shot rounds of 75 and 84, while Mariana finished with rounds of 81 and 78, as both golfers finished at 15 over. Marybeth Bellnap finished fourth for the Hillcats and 24th overall.
Rogers State men rebound to win Hillcat Classic
In the men’s division, Rogers State closed strong to overcome a large deficit and win the Hillcat Classic hosted at the Bailey Ranch Golf Club.
The Hillcats started the day in sixth place and were down by 10 strokes or more at multiple points during the final round, but closed the third round strong to pick up a two-shot victory over Lubbock Christian. RSU’s four counting golfers shot 7-under par over the final seven holes, leading to a team score of 4-over 288.
The Hillcats comeback bid was led by Luke Palmowski, who sat in a tie for seventh, with seven holes to play. Palmowski shot 3-under par over the final six holes to finish 2-under 69 for the day and in a three-way tie for the individual lead at 2-over 215.
Palmowski tied with Tucker Tovar (Arkansas-Fort Smith) and Parker Holekamp (Texas A&M International), but fell in the first playoff hole for medalist honors, won by Tovar.
Gonzalo Chaves finished strong as well, shooting a 1-under 70 in the final round to climb to a seventh-place finish. Chaves. Patrick Bart would also make a surge for the Hillcats in the final holes. After shooting six consecutive pars, Bart finished the final two holes of the event with birdies as he finished even par for the day. After being disqualified from the first round for a scorecard violation, Bart came back with rounds of 72-71.