Pirates finish third at Golfweek Challenge

ECU Pirates

Julie Boysen-Hillestad (ECU Sports Information photo)

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PAWLEY’S ISLAND, S.C. – The East Carolina women’s golf team opened the 2021-22 season with a third-place showing at the Golfweek Fall Challenge being played at the par-71, 6,032-yard, Caledonia Golf Club.

The Pirates carded a final round of 5-over-par 289 in Tuesday’s final round after shooting a combined 10-over in the first two rounds Sunday and Monday to complete the tournament with a 54-hole tally of 15-over 867.

Campbell won the tournament by 12 strokes over second-place Jacksonville State and finished 14 strokes in front of the Pirates. The Camels led wire-to-wire, grabbing a six-stroke lead on day one and extending their advantage to nine strokes after 36 holes. They finished with a three-day total of 1-over-par 853, while the Gamecocks claimed runner-up honors at 13-over 865.

Campbell’s Anna Nordfors captured medalist honors by one stroke over Lipscomb’s Lauren Thompson and two strokes ahead of ECU senior Julie Boysen Hillestad. Nordfors carded a 5-under 66 on day one and then shot par each of the next two days to hold off Thompson, who fired a 4-under on the final 36 holes, and Hillestad.

Hillestad carded a 5-under 137 on the final 36 holes, rallying from a disappointing 2-over 73 in round one. She posted her best round of the tournament Tuesday with a 3-under 68. She led all players with 15 birdies during the three-day, 54-hole event.

“Starting off the season with a third-place finish both individually and as a team makes me super excited for what is yet to come,” Hillestad said. “I played solid golf all three days and made a lot of birdies. After the quadruple bogey on the final hole of day one, I’m proud that I was able to bounce back with two rounds under par. We are definitely going in the right direction and I can’t wait for our home tournament to start.”

Junior Oda Sofie Kilsti recorded the second top 10 finish of her career, tying for sixth at par-213. Kilsti shot 1-over 72 Tuesday, one day after posting a career-low round of 4-under 67. Her previous best finish was seventh at the ECU Easter Invitational last season.

Fifth-year senior Kathryn Carson finished tied for 34th at 10-over 223, while freshman Andrea Miralles Llopis tied for 45th at 12-over 225 in her collegiate debut. Redshirt freshman Riley Hamilton finished five strokes behind her rookie teammate tied for 58th at 17-over 230.

“This week we posted too many big numbers as a result of poor course management and timid swings,” Pirate head coach CC Buford said. “While disappointing, those kind of things happen, especially when we had two girls in the lineup for the first time. We learned where we need improvement, and will work to correct the mistakes that cost us a win.

“We have the talent this year to accomplish special things, and everyone in our program knows the end goal. I am confident we will have a good week of work and our girls will be ready to compete next week.”

ECU returns to the links Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 20-21, at the Greenville Country Club for the annual Pirate Collegiate Classic.

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