By Valerie Clancy
Castlewarden golfer Lauren Walsh says the hard work has paid off as her team at Wake Forest won the 2023 Division 1 Women’s Golf Championship yesterday.
The event, which took place at Grayhawk Golf Club in Arizona, saw Walsh play a crucial part in the team’s win by securing a point in a 3&2 victory over her South California opponent in the final.
Wake Forest qualified for the matchplay in third place after shooting a combined score of -13 for four rounds. Walsh placed T7 on the individual leaderboard after she shot -6, four shots behind eventual winner Rose Zhang from Stanford, who defended her title from last year. Her individual finish at the National Championship led to her being named as an All-American for the 2022-2023 season.
— Irish Amateur golf info (@amateur_info) May 24, 2023
After seven days in Arizona, the Wake Forest women made history by becoming their first team to win a National Championship after narrowly being defeated in the 2019 final to Duke. The team cruised to this year's final with a quarter-final win over Florida State University followed by a win over Texas A&M in the semi-final.
The Wake Forest team which consists of three Curtis Cup players have written themselves into the history books at their university having had a record-breaking season. They had an impressive total of five regular-season wins which broke their program-record. A third-place position at both their conference championship and regionals is what led them to the National Championship at Grayhawk.
"It's such a long, exhausting week. We flew out last week; we've two practice days, and then four days of strokeplay and two days of matchplay with one of them being 36 holes,” said Walsh.
"So it's something like eight rounds in seven days. And that's a lot of golf for us. But, you know, that's why we get up and work out every week. And that's why we practice every day. It makes all those hours we put into it, so worth it.
"Not only was it a long week, we're out here and it's 37-38 degrees Celsius every day. And that really takes it out of you as well. And obviously, being from Ireland, we're not quite used to those temperatures.
"But you know, we just had to battle through this week and face some adversity and keep moving forward."
What a performance Lauren Walsh ☘️
What a team Wake Forest 🏆
After a stellar year on course with multiple wins Wake take home their first national championship 👏👏. What a way to sign off from a great college career Lauren 👏👏👏 @llaurenwalsh @WakeWGolf @castlewarden pic.twitter.com/uo66rHbPBN
— Irish Amateur golf info (@amateur_info) May 25, 2023
The last Irish player to have won a National Championship was Olivia Mehaffey with Arizona State in 2017 and Golf Ireland High Performance Director Neil Manchip said he was thrilled with the latest success.
“This is another phenomenal achievement for Lauren and a great way for her to round off her collegiate career,” said Manchip.
“We have been following her progression closely and are delighted to watch her go from strength to strength recently.”