Short Turnaround as Ducks Head to Tucson
EUGENE, Ore. - Fresh off a third-place finish at the Bruin Wave Invitational that wrapped up on Wednesday in Somis, Calif., the Ducks will face a short turnaround with the Arizona Wildcat Invitational set to begin on Monday with 36 holes at Sewailo Golf Course in Tucson. Oregon is coming off its eighth top-five finish in its last nine tournaments dating back to last season, moving up to No. 21 in the national rankings according to Golfweek and No. 28 according to Golfstat.
2021 Arizona Wildcat Invitational
Dates: Monday, March 8 - Tuesday, March 9
Location: Tucson, Ariz.
Course: Sewailo Golf Course
Format: Five-count-four; Three rounds; 36 holes on Monday, 18 holes on Tuesday
The Field (16 Teams)
Arizona, Colorado, Denver, Iowa, Iowa State, Long Beach State, Northern Arizona, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Texas, UNLV, USC
Teeing Off For The Ducks (2020-21 scoring average)
1. Briana Chacon (75.67)
2. Ching-Tzu Chen (74.17)
3. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu (76.50)
4. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen (77.33)
5. Tze-Han (Heather) Lin (80.67)
Numbers to Know
1 - Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu made her first hole-in-one as a collegiate on Wednesday, acing a par-3 from 176 yards out with a 5-iron.
T2 - Ching-Tzu Chen tied for 2nd at last week's Bruin Wave Invitational, the best finish of her career and best by a Duck since 2019.
8 - Dating back to 2019-20, Oregon has finished in the top five in eight of its last nine team tournaments.
21 - Oregon enters the Wildcat Invitational at No. 21 in the Golfweek rankings after opening the spring with two top-four finishes..
50 - Freshman Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu is Oregon's highest-rated player at No. 50 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
The Ducks will be back at Sewailo Golf Course almost exactly one year since they wrapped up the 2020 Wildcat Invitational, the final event for Oregon before the spring season was cancelled by the pandemic. The Ducks tied for second place, shooting 2 under in the final round to finish 4-over-par for the week. Three players placed in the top 15 for UO, including Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen in a tie for 16th overall at 2 under. Oregon finished alone in second at the 2019 Wildcat Invitational, the first season under head coach Derek Radley after he helped lead Arizona to the national championship as an assistant in 2018.
Chen Leads Ducks to Third-Place Finish
Oregon jumped out to the 18-hole lead for the second straight tournament last week at the Bruin Wave Invitational, shooting an 18-over 306 in the opening round on Monday to take a three-stroke lead. Playing through wind and rain on a course that Derek Radley described as "one of the most challenging I have ever seen," the Ducks were unable to improve upon that day-one score but still left SoCal with a third-place finish. Ching-Tzu Chen stepped up with the best finish of her career and best by a Duck since 2019 in a tie for second place at 5 over. Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu tied for seventh overall at 14 over - highlighted by a hole-in-one on a par-3 in the final round - and Briana Chacon (individual) was one stroke back in a tie for ninth to make Oregon the only team with three players in the individual top 10.
Ducks Take Fourth In Scottsdale
Oregon competed in a counting team tournament for the first time in 342 days when the Ducks opened the Sun Devil Winter Classic on February 15 in Scottsdale, and Derek Radley's squad came out firing with a 3-under 285 in the opening round to take the lead through 18 holes. The Ducks cooled off a bit the next two days but still posted a solid fourth-place finish in a field of 10 Pac-12 teams. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen was Oregon's top finisher in 15th overall at 4 over, with Alexis Phadungmartvorakul one stroke behind in a tie for 16th. Four of the Ducks' five players finished in the top 25 on the individual leaderboard.
All-American Debut For Nielsen
The Ducks return their top player from the 2020 shortened season in sophomore Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen, who immediately established herself as one of the top players in the Pac-12 as a true freshman. The Denmark native became just the third player in program history to earn WGCA all-America honors, receiving honorable mention recognition after finishing the year at No. 24 on the individual Golfstat national rankings, ninth-best in the NCAA among freshmen. Nielsen posted 10 rounds of par or better as a freshman and led Oregon with a 72.52 scoring average, good for second-best in UO single-season history. Nielsen opened her sophomore season with her eighth straight top-20 showing to kick off her career before tying for 45th last week in California.
Already boasting a young roster full of talent, head coach Derek Radley made arguably the biggest recruiting splash in program history when he signed Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Lu to join the Ducks this season as a freshman. The No. 1 ranked recruit out of Asia in the 2020 collegiate signing class, Lu enters her third collegiate tournament at No. 50 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen is the next-highest ranked Duck at No. 120. Lu - who notched her first career top-10 finish in a tie for seventh last week at the Bruin Wave Invitational - has flown up the rankings since she signed with Oregon on Nov. 18, 2019, as the No. 154 ranked amateur in the world. Radley has called Lu "one of the most talented recruits we have ever seen."
Oregon is scheduled to return to Arizona for the PING/ASU Invitational in Tempe on March 26-28.