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Fotu Claims First UGA Victory in the Face of Giants
By Beaux Yenchik, UGA Intern
Millcreek, UT –
n the face of figurative giants, a first-time winner took the podium Thursday afternoon at the Mary Lou Baker Open.
Kerstin Fotu, 19-year-old BYU commit, claimed her first-ever Utah Golf Association trophy at Wasatch Mountain Golf Course. A 3-under-par 69 lead Fotu to a four-shot victory – finishing at 8 under par. While paired with Utah power-house Kelsey Chugg – who took third place at 3 under par – and local pro Haley Dunn (-4), Fotu took the “giants” and the rest of the field to town.
“It feels like I can do whatever I set my mind to,” Fotu said. “It feels good. I just told myself to take care of my drives and my putts and just focus on my own game. [Then], everything else will take care of itself and [don’t] really worry about anyone else and how they are playing.”
Playing on a 5,800-yard course, Fotu capitalized on the opportunities presented to her on a golden platter. The course, already playing very scoreable, showed vulnerability, especially to players like Fotu who hit the ball a mile. What a difference it can make when one can constantly play wedges into greens instead of mid-irons or even hybrids for some.
“The course set up really well [for me],” Fotu expressed. “They weren’t playing it super long, so I took advantage of that with my driver.”
Fotu started off her day with a birdie on the sharp-dogleg par-4 1st. Then, after a string of seven straight pars, Fotu made the turn by birdieing the 10th, nearly matching her eagle from day one.
The back nine began with four straight pars, maintaining her one-shot lead over playing-partner Haley Dunn.
And just like that, Fotu lost the lead as she walked off the green on 13, having just seen Dunn birdie the hole to tie. The two would then share the lead for another hole as each player again birdied the 14th for the second day in a row.
Now standing on the 15th green, Fotu and Dunn both faced lengthy putts for birdie. Fotu, standing roughly 40 feet away, lagged her right-to-left putt to within a foot for a tap-in par. Dunn, on the other hand, three putted for bogey – lipping out for par from a couple feet away.
Fotu, having regained the lead back would then go onto par two of her remaining three holes with a birdie on the 17th. Dunn would head in the opposite direction as she then bogeyed two of her last three holes to finish at even par for the day.
“On the back, probably 14 or 15, I was like ‘OK, if I keep on this roll of birdie or par then I’ll be good,’” Fotu said. “I was trying not to think about [winning] too much! On 18, ‘just two-putt and get out of here.’”
Karen Valcarce shot an impressive 3 under par today to sneak into the fourth spot at 1 under par, while Carly Dehlin and Jessica Sloot tied for fifth at even par.
For complete results of the MLB Open, CLICK HERE.