March 3rd, 2024

Canada’s Lauren Zaretsky wins first NCAA golf title and is primed for more success

By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press on February 7, 2024.

Canada's Lauren Zaretsky reacts after a putt on the 13th hole during the CP Women's Open in Ottawa, on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Zaretsky can already cross winning an NCAA tournament off her goals list.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canada’s Lauren Zaretsky can already cross winning an NCAA tournament off her goals list.

The golfer from Thornhill, Ont., led from wire-to-wire to win the UCF Women’s Challenge on Monday for her first-ever collegiate title.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders sophomore fired a career-best 8-under 64 in the first round of the three-round event and never looked back to claim the title at Eagle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, Fla.

“I had high goals,” said Zaretsky, who had to overcome injury issues over the past few months. “After shooting my best score ever and being in contention for winning, I think I just had to keep my foot on the gas and hope to win it in the end.”

Zaretsky was dominant in her first collegiate tournament of 2024, with rounds of 64-71-68 to finish 13 under and win by three strokes.

The 20-year-old said that her strong performance came despite having injured knees.

“I have a torn meniscus in one of my knees and probably both my knees are torn,” said Zaretsky, noting that golf carts were permitted at the UCF Women’s Challenge. “They were kind of bothering me in the first semester, so I’ve been trying to get back to feeling 100 per cent. Now I pretty much feel 100 per cent.”

Now that Zaretsky has a taste for victory at the collegiate level she wants to keep pushing herself to greater heights.

“I’m trying to hopefully to win more college events and the big dream would be to win a national championship,” said Zaretsky. “As a team and as an individual would be the ultimate goal.

“I think that’s the biggest achievement you can have at the NCAA level. Hopefully my team can make it this year, and then I have a chance to do it on both ends.”

She’ll have her first crack at a second title starting Monday when Texas Tech hosts NEXUS Collegiate at Albany Golf Club in New Providence, Bahamas.

PGA TOUR – Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., leads the Canadian contingent into the always raucous WM Phoenix Open this week at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course in Arizona. He’s ranked 30th on the FedEx Cup standings. Nick Taylor (56th) of Abbotsford, Corey Conners (68th) of Listowel, Ont., and Adam Svensson (70) of Surrey, B.C., are also in the field.

KORN FERRY TOUR – Edmonton’s Wil Bateman rocketed up the Korn Ferry Tour’s points list after tying for second at The Panama Championship on Sunday. He’s tied for eighth heading into this week’s Astara Golf Championship at Country Club de Bogota in Colombia. Myles Creighton (38th) of Digby, N.S., Etienne Papineau (40) of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., Sudarshan Yellamaraju (T124th) of Mississauga, Ont., are also in the field.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

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