Caitriona Griffin, a Northwestern Ohio senior from Castlemaine, Co. Kerry.
By John Manley
Steady rain forced cancellation of the second and final round of the Purgatory Intercollegiate at Purgatory Golf Club in Noblesville, Indiana on Saturday, which left Caitriona Griffin of Northwestern Ohio as the medal winner. Her first-round 68 stood up for a one-shot victory. Griffin, a senior from Castlemaine, Co. Kerry, tied a school record with her score in the Racers’ first event of the spring season.
“To card 14 pars and four birdies with no bogeys on Purgatory is a phenomenal round,” said Dawn West, Northwestern Ohio head coach. “I’m so happy for Caitriona. She has put in the work the past three years and has been swinging so well the past two months. Her being a senior and knowing it’s her last go-round makes this even sweeter for her.”
Taylor University, which had the second and third finishers, won the team title by four strokes over Northwestern Ohio.
Maeve Cummins posted the low 54-hole score for Carson-Newman, which took third place in the Sunoco Campbell Oil Classic at River Landing in Wallace, North Carolina. The freshman from Waringstown, Co. Down knocked out rounds of 75, 71 and 76 to get a piece of fifth place on the individual table. She finished the event six strokes over par and four off the low number shot by Katy Flax of UNC-Pembroke.
Arizona State’s Olivia Mehaffey shrugged off a first-round 74 to post a course-best 65 in the second round of the Ping Invitational at Papago Golf Club in Phoenix. But the Belfast junior couldn’t maintain the momentum through the third and final round, in which she shot 72. That left her in sole possession of sixth place, two strokes off the low number. Mehaffey had the low-54 hole total for the Sun Devils, who lost the team crown to Southern California by one stroke.
Rounds of 73, 74 and 73 left Darragh Crawford pretty much in the middle of the field in the Florida Atlantic Spring Championship at Osprey Point in Boca Raton, Florida. Crawford, a Bethune-Cookman senior from Ballybofey, Co. Donegal, finished joint-42nd in the 78-man field. At four strokes over par for the tournament, he finished 20 strokes in back of Central Florida’s Bobby Bai, the medalist.
Northwestern had a productive visit last Wednesday to Piscataway, New Jersey, where they polished off Rutgers, 7-0. Dublin junior Julie Byrne was slotted at second singles, where she took care of Kat Muzik, 6-1, 6-3. The tune remained the same on Friday when the Wildcats hosted Maryland and hung a 7-0 defeat on the Terrapins. Byrne defeated Eva Alexandrova, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, and joined Hannah McColgan at second doubles for a 6-1 win over Arnelle Sullivan and Amber Policare.
A win at first singles by Ruth Copas proved decisive as New Mexico edged Colorado State, 4-3, in Fort Collins, Colorado on Sunday. With the match knotted at 3, Copas, a senior from Dundalk, prevailed over Emily Luetschwager, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Vanderbilt eked out a 4-3 road triumph over Kentucky on Friday. The Commodores' Georgia Drummy, a freshman from Dublin, put away Lesedi Jacobs, 6-3, 6-2, at second singles.
Laura Fitzgerald’s victory at fifth singles proved decisive as Illinois State edged Bradley, 4-3, in Peoria, Illinois on Saturday. The sophomore from Greystones, Co. Wicklow needed three sets to put away Nikki Perlwitz, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The Redbirds didn’t win the doubles point, but that was no fault of Fitzgerald. She and Jana Kustkova defeated Perlwitz and Bozana Lojpur, 6-4.
Caragh Courtney, a freshman from Castleknock, Dublin, contributed to Delaware's 6-1 win over George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia on Friday with a victory, 6-1, 6-4, at second singles over Brianna Gibbs. She also teamed with Emily Gotkiewicz for a 6-3 win at second doubles over Hannah Harrod and Jackie Nannery.
Montevallo split a pair of road matches, defeating Valdosta State, 5-2, on Tuesday and falling, 6-1, to West Florida on Thursday. Emily Beatty, a senior from Moria, Co. Down, was slotted at second singles on both occasions. She defeated Valdosta's Daniella Barta, 6-1, 6-3, and lost to West Florida's Karolina Silwanowicz, 6-2, 7-5.
The living is easy for Tusculum, decisive winners of three matches last week. The Pioneers started with a 5-2 road win over Queens (N.C.). Annie McCullough defeated Sasha Davidzenka, 6-2, 6-0, at first singles, although sister Caitlin lost at no. 3 to Viktorja Vaselinova, 7-5, 6-4. The Belfast juniors also combined for a 6-0 win at first doubles over Sasha Davidzenka and Caity Klaassen. On Friday, Tusculum visited Lenoir-Rhyne and left as 5-2 victors. After a 6-4 doubles win over Sanne Janssen and Emily Murchland, the siblings were extended to three sets by their rivals. Annie outlasted Gemma Southwick, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Caitlin got past Marta Escanero Funes, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. Sunday’s win at home over Bluefield State was a facile 7-0 affair, led off by a 6-0 doubles win over Eva Garcia and Eva Rubio. Annie then took care of Rubio, 6-1, 6-0, at first singles, with Caitlin posting a 6-4, 6-1 win over Garcia at no. 2.
The van ride back to Erie, Pennsylvania from West Virginia for Mercyhurst went a lot smoother thanks to wins over Charleston, 5-2, on Friday and Fairmont State, 6-1, on Saturday. Cormac McCooey did his part with victories at first singles in both matches. The junior from Dublin defeated Charleston’s Ben Lakeman, 6-4, 6-4, and Fairmont’s Joao Lucas Alves, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Alongside Unai Amilleta Gonzalez at first doubles, he also knocked off Charleston’s Lakeman and Joao Tayar, 6-2, and Fairmont’s Alves and Guilherme Pachane, 6-2.
Neil O’Connor saved Missouri-Kansas City from getting swept by New Mexico State on Sunday. The Dublin freshman turned in a 6-1, 6-4 win over Enrique Asmar at fifth singles in a 6-1 loss for the ‘Roos in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
A victory at second singles by Dublin freshman Thomas Brennan enabled Butler to defeat Villanova, 4-3, on the loser’s courts on Friday. Brennan defeated Tyler Roth, 6-4, 6-3.
Davenport’s Matthew McClurg came through at second singles with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Leon Kah as the Panthers enjoyed a 6-1 victory in Griffith, Indiana on Sunday. McClurg, a senior from Belfast, also teamed with Jonathan Bulmer for a 6-2 triumph at first doubles over Moritz Gisy and Gregory Kvint.