Arriaga wins Conference USA Championship on Wednesday
GULF SHORES, Ala. — Fabiola Arriaga captured the Conference USA individual title in record-setting style to lead UTSA to a second-place finish at the league’s Women’s Golf Championship, which concluded on Wednesday at the Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club (par 72/6,145 yards).
Arriaga tied a Conference USA record by carding a nine-under-par 207 in becoming the third Roadrunner to capture an individual conference crown in the program’s nine-year history, as she joined Allie Jordan (2009) and Shannon Jungmann (2012) in the school’s record book. The senior won by four strokes and posted the lowest score at the event since UTEP's Gerina Mendoza established the conference record in 2007.
“To win a conference championship feels awesome,” Arriaga said. “Individually, I’m really proud of the way I played, because I knew this was my last year and I wanted to finish strong at conference. I’m really happy that I was able to play the way I did in a really good field.
“As a team, we came here with the confidence and mindset to win this tournament. We knew there would be some very good teams here. It’s disappointing not to win but at the same time, Tulane is a very good team and to be the runner-up in our first year in Conference USA is a really good accomplishment for the program.”
Arriaga entered the final round with a three-shot lead after posting a career-best-tying 68 on Monday and a 69 in the second round a day later. The Torreon, Mexico, native posted a pair of birdies on the front nine en route to a 34 and was bogey-free until the par-5 16th, but she quickly countered with a birdie-two on the next hole and coasted to the four-stroke victory ahead of runner-up Gemma Dryburgh of Tulane (68-72-71—211).
Arriaga registered 13 birdies and an eagle against just six bogeys during the 54-hole event and she led the 65-player field in par-4 (-3) and par-5 (-7) scoring. It marked the second outright win along with the second straight and 15th overall top 10-finish of her career.
“Fabi's performance this week is the culmination of four years of determination and passion to succeed,” head coach Carrie Parnaby said. “She is such an impressive young lady and player who has left a big stamp on our program.”
Taylor Newlin joined her senior teammate in the top 10, tying for seventh place with a one-over 217. The Frisco native recorded her second straight 72 after opening with a 73 and finished with 41 pars, third-best among all players.
Brogan Townend and Aimee Ponte provided a 72 and 74, respectively, in the final round to help UTSA to its runner-up score of two-over 866 (286-292-288). Townend finished in a tie for 16th with a 220 (73-75-74), Libby Thomas was 33rd with a 227 (72-80-75) and Ponte tied for 35th with a 228 (78-76-74).
“I'm so proud of our team’s overall effort in our first Conference USA Championship,” Parnaby said. “To compete the way they did and have a chance to win today was our goal and that says a lot about this team, especially our seniors. Fabi and Taylor have been gaining strength as leaders as the spring has gone on and I'm so happy for them.”
No. 34 Tulane won its second consecuitve team title with an eight-under 856 (281-291-284). Middle Tennessee was third (879) and FIU and Old Dominion tied for fourth (881) in the 13-team field.
The Roadrunners now will await word of a possible second straight at-large selection to the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, which will be announced live at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 28, on the Golf Channel and online here.