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Women's College Golf: Silverado Showdown returns to Napa next week
Women’s College Golf

Women's College Golf: Silverado Showdown returns to Napa next week

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The Silverado Showdown, a major college women’s golf tournament co-hosted by the University of Colorado and University of Oregon, returned to Silverado Resort and Spa on Monday after a one-year absence.

Now in its sixth year, the Silverado Showdown is a three-day, 54-hole event on the North Course that wraps up Wednesday. It has been be set up as a par-72, 6,300-yard layout.

The springtime event has a field of 13 teams, led by Arizona State, USC and Northwestern.

Arizona State is No. 10, USC is No. 13 and Northwestern is No. 15 in the Golfstat Top 25 women’s team rankings, at golfstat.com.

USC is No. 7, Arizona State is No. 8 and Northwestern is No. 19 in the Golfweek Women’s Team Collegiate Rankings, at rankings.golfweek.com.

The field also has UC Berkeley, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Iowa State, San Jose State and UNLV. Five individual players will round out the field.

“We were certainly disappointed we couldn’t do it last April, right as COVID kind of hit,” said Cody Sherrill, Silverado’s Director of Golf Operations. “We’re really excited just to have competitive golf back. This past year has been a challenge, but it’s good to see everyone persevering and the NCAA finding a way to put on their events and hold their tournaments.

“It’s going to be a good event.”

Stanford, Houston, Texas Christian and Arizona had to pull out of the tournament, Colorado head coach Anne Kelly said. Stanford won its second straight title at the Silverado Showdown in 2017, when Hannah Kim of Northwestern and Lilia Vu of UCLA were the individual co-medalists.

However, not only is Northwestern back to defend its 2019 team title but the Wildcats have also brought back that year’s individual medalist, Brooke Riley, now a graduate student.

There were 18 teams in the field in 2019 when Riley, a graduate of East Union High School in Manteca, had rounds of 70, 70 and 75 for a 1-under-par 215 total.

USC won the team title in 2018. Jennifer Chang of USC and Patty Tavatanakit of UCLA were co-medalists, each finishing at 8-under 208.

“It’s just turned into one of the premier events in college golf,” said Kelly, who is in her 24th season at Colorado. “The staff at Silverado does such a great job and they make us feel so welcome.”

There was a practice round on Sunday. Players were to start Monday and Tuesday from the No. 1 and 10 tees, beginning at 8 a.m. There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun for the final round.

The players will be challenged by a course that has hosted PGA Tour events over the last seven years, with the Frys.com Open and Safeway Open.

“Another reason why the tournament is so popular is because it’s such a great golf course, and it’s a really good tune-up for the Pac-12 (Championships),” said Kelly. “It’s just such a great test of golf.

“I think that the greens are very challenging, but they’re very fair. I think that that is one of the premier aspects of that golf course. Most of the young women hit it very straight and they hit it long. But the shots required into the greens and around the greens are a good challenge.”

The Silverado Showdown was founded in 2014 by Kelly and former Oregon coach Ria Scott, who is now at the University of Virginia, along with Dr. Rob Talley and his wife, Kim Talley, of Napa. The Talleys’ daughter, Emily Talley, played in college for four years at Colorado. Talley was an Honorable Mention All-American in 2012 by the National Golf Coaches Association and Golfweek.

She turned professional in 2012 and played on the Symetra Tour.

The inaugural Silverado Showdown was played in 2014. Scott was at Oregon for nine years.

“We enjoyed being around each other for four years and we don’t want to lose touch. Kim said, ‘You should have a tournament in Napa,’ ” Kelly recalled. “It was about the year after Emily graduated. We really needed a tournament in April. And I was talking to the Oregon coach (Scott) at the time and she did as well. I called Kim and Kim got us in touch with Silverado and it went from there.”

“It is a real honor to be able to host this tournament, with such a great field, on just a great, great golf course. It’s something I’m very proud of and just so happy to be able to do and it gives these young women such a wonderful experience.

“The (Silverado) members and the people around that area, have all been so supportive of us. It feels like coming home.”

Conditions have been firm and fast on the North Course, which presents an additional test with its narrow fairways and tough, challenging greens.

“It will be challenging for these players,” said Sherrill. “Competitive golf is really at the root of what we do, and so we’re excited to kind of test their skills.

“We keep the course conditions pretty close to PGA Tour-ready year-round. The greens are quick – I think, sometimes, that catches players by surprise. You want to make sure you’re hitting it into the right spots in the approach.”

Linn Grant of Arizona State is No. 5, Allisen Corpuz of USC is No. 6, Emma Spitz of UCLA is No. 12, and Irene Kim of Northwestern is No. 15 in the Golfstat NCAA Women’s Player Rankings.

The Golfweek Women’s Collegiate Individual Rankings has Corpuz at No. 2, Grant at No. 4, Kim at No. 6, and Spitz is No. 7.

“Just to bring a lot of these players to Napa Valley is a big deal as well,” said Sherrill. “It’s a special place. We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to bring new people into this Valley and let them have that experience – the experience of a lifetime, for some of them.”

The tournament is open to Silverado members only for spectating, not to the general public. Visiting Marty James’ blog at bit.ly/3cPh6NO is one way to follow the action. A story about the final round will be in the Register at napavalleyregister.com on Thursday and in print on Friday.

Academy of Art Invitational at Silverado

Academy of Art University, located in San Francisco, hosted the Academy of Art Invitational, a two-day event, March 29-30 at Silverado Resort. The first round was played on the par-72, 6,793-yard North Course. The final round was played on the par-72, 6,612-yard South Course.

Sonoma State won the team title, shooting 306-296 – 602. Cal State East Bay was second (605), Academy of Art University was third (619), and Hawaii Pacific was fourth (635).

Ryan Hong of Cal State East Bay (77-70 – 147), Devin Gregg of Sonoma State (75-72 – 147) and Thomas Jenkins of Sonoma State (73-74 – 147) tied for medalist honors.

Keita Okada of Hawaii Pacific (77-75 – 152), Ryan Torres of Hawaii Pacific (77-75 – 152), and Won Jun Lee of Cal State East Bay (71-81 – 152) tied for fourth.

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