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Davis, California

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Young guns

Youth and inexperience can be liabilities for a team.

This is not the case for the Aggies.

No. 26 UC Davis was led by freshmen Demi Runas and Amy Simanton on its way to a second-place finish at the Juli Inkster Spartan Invitational.

“It’s wonderful to have these young players,” said coach Anne Williams. “This is the future of the program and they’re telling the country that this is not short term success. We’re really happy with the way they’re playing.”

Runas had the best tournament of her young career, finishing in second place. She shot a score of 219, just two strokes behind winner Christina Corpus of host San Jose State. The Torrance, Calif. native had four birdies on the final day of the tournament on her way to a single-round score of 72 – the best by any Aggie in the tournament.

Runas’ teammate Simanton followed up her second place finish last week with a fifth place finish in San Jose. The Lake Oswego, Ore. local, shot 222, which was five strokes off the lead.

As a team UC Davis had a rough start.

After the first round, the Aggies were nine strokes back.

The Aggies responded by showing their mental toughness in the final two rounds when they were able to rebound and bring themselves into contention.

“We had a slow start,” Walker said, “but we bounced back. We had a few great runs when we could have given up. It was great that we were able to be in it until the end.”

UC Davis began the final round of the tournament a stroke ahead of No. 14 California and six strokes behind San Jose State. After a final round score of 300, the Aggies were able to move ahead of the Spartans, but could not hold off the Golden Bears.

UC Davis finished just two strokes behind tournament winner Cal and two strokes ahead of San Jose State. The Aggies also beat four teams ranked in the top-50.

One player who struggled for UC Davis in the tough first round was junior Alice Kim. She shot a first round 81, largely due to a score of eight on the par-three 13th hole, but she was able to bounce back in her final round to finish in the top-30 with a score of 232.

“At the start she didn’t play to her normal level,” Walker said. “She’s a great player though and we’re not worried about her at all moving forward.”

The Aggies will next take the course Mar. 26 at the Betsy Rawls Invitational in Austin Texas.

TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at sports@theaggie.org.


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