Roller helps lift TU to emotional win in Dale McNamara Invitational

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By Ken MacLeod

Sophomore Jenni Roller put together her best collegiate performance to date, shooting rounds of 71-70-70 for a 5-under total of 211 that was good for fourth place individually but more importantly helped lift the University of Tulsa to a two-shot victory over South Florida in the Dale McNamara Invitational at The Golf Club of Oklahoma Tuesday.

Roller didn’t take full advantage of her excellent ball striking, missing 4-foot birdie putts on holes 16 and 18 in the final round. In between, however, she slammed in a 50-footer on the par-3 17th while also making birdies on holes 3, 4 and 13.

Tulsa shot an even-par 288 in the final round to finish at 8-under. Grace Kilcrease matched Roller with a 2-under 70, while Lilly Thomas shot even-par 72 and Sydney Seigel shot 76. Kilcrease finished 15th overall with a three-round total of 217 while Thomas and Seigel tied for 10th at 216. Redshirt freshman Allyn Stephens finished in 27th place for the Hurricane with a final round 77 after yesterday’s scores of 72 and 71.

Tulsa coach Annie Young had tears in her eyes during the awards ceremony as she remembered the tournament’s namesake Dale McNamara, who coached TU to more than 60 team titles including four national championships between 1974-2000. McNamara was on hand to see TU win this event a year ago at Cedar Ridge but passed away on Oct. 30.

“I’m very proud of my team today,” Young said. “Dale was a legend and I’m sure she was out there with every one of my players today.”

Roller, who missed the starting field for TU’s last event at the Schooner Fall Classic at Belmar, played some determined golf on the gorgeous but treacherous Tom Fazio design at The Golf Club of Oklahoma. The fourth-place finish was the best of her collegiate career to date.

“It’s always great when a hometown kid does a good job,” Young said. “Jenni was really close to Dale (McNamara) as well, so that’s even more special. She knows the golf course, which obviously helps. It’s fun – she had a lot of supporters out there, too. Everybody out there and all the volunteers know Jenni Roller, and she stepped up big for us this week. Hopefully, we can continue it.”

Roller’s mother Maggie Roller played for Dale McNamara at the University of Tulsa and her teammate was Dale’s daughter Melissa. The families have been close since and one of Dale’s favorite activities late in life was to get to watch Jenni play.

South Florida shot 1-under 287 in the final round. The University of Texas-San Antonio took third, four shots behind Tulsa at 860, after a 2-under 286 Tuesday. UTSA was led by individual winner Camryn Carreion at 12-under 204 after rounds of 69-68-67.

Kelli Ann Strand of Nebraska was second at 10-under 206 followed by Melanie Green of South Florida at 208. Roller was fourth at 211 and Andrea Bergsdottir of Colorado State fifth at 212.

Oral Roberts placed 13th in the field and Oklahoma City University was 14th. ORU was paced by Avery Blake in a tie for 23rd after rounds of 72-71-76 and OCU was led by Makayla Tyrrell in a tie for 48th at 225 (78-69-78).


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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source