Oregon State head coach Dawn Shockley said it gives her “chills” to think about all Ellie Slama has accomplished during her years with the Beavers' women’s golf program.
“She’s the most humble player that I’ve ever worked with,” said Shockley. “She just believes in herself. I think what Ellie does is just special as a person. What she’s done is pretty cool.”
Slama won her third individual collegiate title as she fired a 1-over-par 73 in the final round on Wednesday to capture the Silverado Showdown, a major college tournament featuring a field of 13 teams in Napa.
Slama completed the three-day, 54-hole event, played on the par-72, 6,202-yard Silverado Resort and Spa North Course, at 8-under 208. She had a share of Monday’s first-round lead with Stefanie Deng of Washington after shooting a 67. She was 9-under for the tournament and had a six-shot lead following her second-round 68 on Tuesday.
Slama was honored during an awards ceremony following her one-shot win over Southern California’s Allisen Corpuz, who made a charge in the closing round with birdies on the last three holes to highlight her round of 68. Corpuz finished the event at 7-under 209.
“People don’t understand, that you have a six-shot lead and that’s easy, but not with this field, and not with the players that she was playing with,” said Shockley. “You’re talking about really good players. Today, she stayed calm.
“I think it just shows the toughness that she has. It’s one shot at a time and I think that’s what her and I talked about — you have just got to stick to one shot at a time and every shot is important.”
Slama began her round in the 8 a.m. shotgun start from the No. 1 tee, with Corpuz and Emma Spitz of UCLA. Spitz and her UCLA teammate, Yuki Yoshihara, tied for third place.
“I’m super excited. It was such a fun last round playing with Allisen and Emma,” said Slama, who is from Salem, Oregon. “Allisen really played well. I’m just stoked.
“It’s super rewarding. I’ve worked really hard this season. And I think just coming off with a win is exciting and sets me up for (Pac-12) Conference when we’re going see the same teams. Hopefully I’ll play just as well there.”
Southern Cal won the team title, shooting a 7-under 281 in the final round and finishing the tournament at 2-under 862. It was a five-shot victory for USC, with UCLA placing second.
“I’m very proud of them,” USC head coach Justin Silverstein said. “Our expectations are really high. We’re heading into postseason, so this this gives us some good vibes heading into about a week and a half of practice before we head up to Stanford for Pac-12.”
The Pac-12 Championships are April 23-25 at Stanford Golf Course.
Led by Corpuz, USC had four players finish among the top 13. It was the fourth win of the 2020-21 season for USC.
“This is a championship-style golf course,” said Silverstein. “It’s as good of a test as we see all year, especially in the regular season. So for us to come out with a win means our girls, top to bottom, 1 to 5, took care of business. It shows that their hard work is paying off. And that’s really pleasing as a coach.”
USC was also honored afterward.
The North Course presented a very tough test, particularly with its greens, which were at 13 on the Stimpmeter. Conditions were dry, firm and fast.
It was the sixth year of the Silverado Showdown, which is co-hosted by Colorado and Oregon.
“Not a bad place to play golf, right?” John Evans, Silverado’s Managing Director/General Manager, said during the awards ceremony. “We’re very proud of our courses. And, of course, we’re excited about the upcoming Fortinet Championship in September. So you got a chance to kind of preview a little bit as to what it’s going to be like for the pros when they come out.”
The Fortinet Championship, a PGA Tour event, is Sept. 13-19 on the Silverado North Course. Fortinet is the title sponsor of the event, which kicks off the PGA Tour’s 2021-22 regular season schedule.
Slama adds to great collegiate career
Slama added another chapter to her outstanding career at Oregon State. She was named All-Pac-12 First Team and set both the school’s single-season scoring average and single-season record with seven top-10 finishes during the 2018-19 season. She has played in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur twice in the last three years.
She bogeyed the par-4, 381-yard first hole, as she missed a four-foot putt for par. She birdied the par-4, 345-yard third hole and bogeyed the par-4, 344-yard eighth hole.
On the back nine, she bogeyed the par-4, 365-yard 12th hole. She hit a beautiful 6-iron tee shot on the par-3, 165-yard 15th hole to three feet and made the birdie putt. It was a two-shot swing on No. 15, as Corpuz made bogey. Slama then had a four-stroke lead.
“The course is in really good shape and the rough is a good length for us,” said Slama. “The beautiful scenery, too, is fun to look at while you’re out there. It reminds me of home.”
Slama missed the green on her approach shot on the par-4, 336-yard 17th hole. She got up and down and made a par-saving putt from eight feet.
“She was between clubs a bit today and just committed to it and trusted herself,” said Shockley.
“I got to walk with her the whole tournament and she didn’t hit her driver very well the first day. It just never stopped her. She kept her confidence up and she trusted herself. It’s that belief in herself. She stayed really calm. There were some pretty iffy tee shots that she just never let get in the way.
“She’s one of the best putters I’ve ever seen. Coming down the stretch is hard. A six-shot lead is not something that’s easy, especially with the talent of Allisen and Emma. It’s impressive. Like I said, it gives me the chills to think about what she’s done. She just got it done.”
Slama played in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur last week, shooting 74-79 – 153 at the Champions Retreat Golf Club. She did not advance to the final round, but played in a practice round at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, on April 3.
“Ellie has done a huge part in building this program. It’s fun to have her representing us out there, nationally, at Augusta,” said Shockley.
Her consistency with the short game – chipping and putting – was a key for Slama, who was able to adjust to the speed of the greens.
“Just lagging my putts close was really important today and not forcing anything because they weren’t dropping quite as much as the last two days,” she said. “Parring quite a few holes and keeping it steady was good.”
Slama’s other titles came at the Trinity Forest Invitational in Dallas, Texas during the 2018-19 season and the Ron Moore Invitational at Highlands Ranch, Colorado, during the 2017-18 season.
“The score that Ellie shot on this golf course is really, really impressive,” said Colorado head coach Anne Kelly. “She’s a great player. She’s just one of the nicest young ladies that I’ve come across. A real quality person.”
Slama has 12 Top-10 finishes during her career for Oregon State.
Corpuz was second (70-71-68 – 209).
Yoshihara (70-72-72 – 214) and Spitz (71-70-73 – 214) tied for third, UCLA’s Annabel Wilson (73-73-70 – 216) and Arizona State’s Alessandra Fanali (70-73-73 – 216) tied for fifth, and Oregon’s Briana Chacon was seventh (74-73-70 – 217).
Corpuz tied for 13th at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. She shot 74 at Augusta National.
“She’s been as good as there is in the country this year. She has got her game in a good position for postseason, and I think she’ll do some big things,” said Silverstein.
Tying for eighth were five players: Iowa State’s Taglao Jeeravivitaporn (74-73-71 – 218), San Jose State’s Kajsa Arwefjall (74-72-72 – 218), Arizona State’s Alexandra Forsterling (74-72-72 – 218), and Southern Cal’s Amelia Garvey (73-72-73 – 218) and Alyaa Abdulghany (72-73-73 – 218).
USC (291-290-281 – 862) was followed by UCLA (288-289-291 – 868), Oregon State (291-291-303 – 885), Oregon (295-298-293 – 886), Arizona State (292-296-298 – 886), Washington (290-304-304 – 898), Iowa State (299-304-296 – 899), San Jose State (295-307-297 – 899), Northwestern (300-301-302 – 903), UC Berkeley (304-305-300 – 909), Colorado (306-306-298 – 910), UNLV (296-312-302 – 910), and San Diego State (308-311-295 – 914).
“To post a score like we did today, especially with our back nine, for us to put up that many birdies kind of showed some patience. Some good play just paid off,” said Silverstein. “They know what they’re supposed to do when they’re here. And they took care of business.”
Top college tournament
Kelly said she is hopeful of increasing the field to 18 teams for next year’s Silverado Showdown.
“This has turned into one of the best tournaments in college golf. This is a great experience for all the players and we love it here,” said Kelly.
The North Course provided a great test, said Kelly.
“It’s a very, very challenging course. One of the best we play all year,” she said. “These greens are so challenging because of the slopes, and to have them at that speed, this is a real test of golf. That was really challenging.”
The average score for the tournament was 75.96.
The par-4, 344-yard eighth hole ranked the toughest at 4.48.
The second-toughest was the par-4, 393-yard sixth hole, at 4.44
The third-toughest was the par-3, 180-yard seventh hole, at 3.43.
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