WILMINGTON, N.C. — Oklahoma State’s Caroline Hedwall made history on Friday, becoming the first Cowgirl golfer to win medalist honors at the Championship.
The sophomore fired a final-round 68 at the Country Club of Landfall to finish four shots clear of Arizona State’s Jennifer Johnson. Hedwall broke par all four days at the event en route to her 12-under total of 276.
“I started off well with a birdie on the first hole but I bogeyed the second hole to move back to even par. I was able to recover from that and get a birdie that got me back to 1-under,” Hedwall said. “I stayed at 1-under for a long time until I made a birdie on the ninth hole. I played really solid on the back nine and was able to make one last birdie on the 17th hole to move to 12-under for the tournament and it felt great.”
“It feels great. I don’t think I’ve realized what this victory truly means just yet.”
In the process of wrapping up her individual title, Hedwall led to an eighth-place finish in the team race. The Cowgirls tied Duke at 27-over 1,179 at the par-72, 6,368-yard layout. posted a 6-over 294 during its final round to secure its second-straight top 10 at the national tournament under head coach Annie Young.
“We have been really supportive of each other all year and it’s great to be part of a team like that,” Hedwall said.
Purdue outlasted Southern California for the team title, posting a 295 during its closing round to finish at 1,153, 1-over par, and one shot ahead of the field.
For the third consecutive day, Hedwall climbed the leaderboard. The two-time Big 12 Player of the Year opened with a 70 on Tuesday to stand in a tie for eighth place. She followed with another 70 during Round Two to climb into a tie for third place. With her 68 on Thursday, Hedwall climbed into sole possession of second place and moved into prime position to make her run at medalist honors.
The top-ranked player in the country, Hedwall opened her final round just one shot behind Johnson for the top spot. Playing the back nine first, she made her move early during the final day of action with birdies on two of her first three holes. After a string of five consecutive pars, she birdied the par-5 18th for the third time in four tries to make the turn at 2-under 34.
Hedwall played her inward nine without a bogey while logging a pair of birdies. She used birdies at the par-5 fourth and the par-3 eighth to close her final round as a collegian in style. Hedwall announced following the event she will forgo her final two years of eligibility and join the professional ranks.
With her day complete, all Hedwall could do was wait for Johnson to finish her round and see if her number stood up.
“I heard that Jennifer Johnson had made a bogey on the 15th hole and that put me ahead by three strokes. I felt pretty good at that point because she needed to make up three shots over three holes and that is very difficult to do. Still, I didn’t want to celebrate too early.”
The finish also capped a remarkable spring for Hedwall, who stated a strong case for national player of the year honors. In eight events during the spring, she never finished worse than fourth while winning four times and finishing third on two occasions. Overall, she finished the year with five victories.
Current standout and former All-American Karin Sjödin had the previous best showing by a Cowgirl at the event, finishing as the runner-up in 2004. Former All-American Pernilla Lindberg, who is currently a rookie on the Tour, finished third at last year’s tournament.
Freshman Victoria Park posted a 1-over 73 for the second-straight day to finish tied for 27th place at 5-over 293.
Freshman Hillary Wood signed for a 75 for the second time in as many days to tie for 67th place at 301, while freshman Courtney McKim tied for 108th at 309 after finishing play with a 309.
Freshman Eyglo Oskarsdottir finished with her best round of the tournament, carding a 79 for a 337 total to finish in 126th place.