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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

In home tournament victory, Quinnipiac sets tone for fourth-straight MAAC championship run

Colin Kennedy
Quinnipiac graduate student Leeyen Peralta is doused in water by her teammates after winning the Quinnipiac Classic at the Farms Country Club in Wallingford, Connecticut on Oct. 10.

 WALLINGFORD, Conn. — As graduate student Leeyen Peralta lined up her putt at the final hole of the Quinnipiac Classic on Oct. 10, teammates, coaches and fans were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. This putt would secure the win for Peralta, who started in third place coming into the final round. 

The scene moved in slow motion as she pulled back her putter and connected with the ball, but when it dropped into the hole, jubilation erupted at the Farms Country Club. Teammates sprinted to shower Peralta with water, cooling off the California native after she scorched the field in Quinnipiac’s lone home tournament of the fall. 

Peralta, now in her fifth year, hasn’t slowed down. In four tournaments this season, she’s won two, finishing top three in another. Her initial win came on Sept. 25-26 at the Red Bandana Intercollegiate in Canton, Massachusetts, shooting a 6-over-par to capture the top spot. 

“Having Leeyen back is a huge deal for us,” head coach John O’Connor said. “She’s probably the best golfer in the conference.” 

That’s high praise from O’Connor, who in his 15th season at the helm of the Bobcats’ program is hoping that his squad is once again the best in the conference. 

While a MAAC champion won’t be crowned until April, Quinnipiac is looking to become the second MAAC team to win four consecutive conference titles. Siena, won 11 straight from 2001-2012. 

The Bobcats have four golfers that have won a collegiate tournament: Peralta, seniors Emily Luu and Aimee Uchida and junior Fuge Zhang.

In her latest win at the Quinnipiac Classic, Peralta shot a 3-over-par to take the top spot. The second round spelled trouble for her, sinking to a 4-over-par on the day after four straight bogeys, including a double bogey between the 11th and 14th holes.

“Leeyen sometimes gets down, (it) doesn’t take much for any golfer to get down,” O’Connor said. “(A) double bogey, it’s hard to recover from that. You gotta mentally know how to recover from that.”

Quinnipiac graduate student Leeyen Peralta connects on a putt during day one of the Quinnipiac Classic at the Farms Country Club in Wallingford, Connecticut, on Oct. 9. (Peyton McKenzie)

But Peralta sank a birdie on hole 16 to keep her in contention for the win.

“It was a rough start.” Peralta said. “I just had a few hiccups but I tried to recover from it. (I) ended okay, not the way I wanted to but try to salvage myself.”

Peralta recovered from those bogeys in the final round shooting a 1-under-par, propelling her to the top spot in the tournament. She finished one stroke off her career best three round score, scoring 219. But her score was not on her mind. 

“I honestly didn’t know how I was doing the whole day. But I think that’s better honestly,” Peralta said. “Just keep playing my best and try to stay focused throughout the match.”

Luu’s win came at the Hartford Invitational after she shot a 9-over-par in the tournament to earn her first collegiate first-place finish. Fellow senior Uchida, finished first most recently at the Hartford One Day Invitational on Oct. 2, finishing with a 74 (2-over-par) to take the top spot. At the Quinnipiac Classic, she finished fourth, shooting 9-over-par.

“I didn’t play too bad,” Uchida said. “I was a little worse than that yesterday but my short game was what I struggled on but overall hitting wise I did pretty good.”

Zhang, the 2022-23 MAAC Golfer of the Year, has yet to compete during the fall season, but is set to return to action this week according to O’Connor. In a team that has champions, having Zhang in their back pocket for the upcoming spring season could be what the Bobcats need for a fourth-straight MAAC conference championship. In the MAAC Championship her title winning score of 214 (1-under-par) set the record for the best three-round score of all-time at a MAAC Championship.

Freshmen Alexia Egdahl, Natalie Spiska and Samantha Galantini have big shoes to fill after senior Kaylee Sakoda and junior Elena Spangle moved on from the blue and gold following a MAAC Championship-winning season.

Galantini started the Quinnipiac Classic shooting a 4-over-par and improved each round after. In the second round, the West Orange, New Jersey, native shot a 1-over-par and finished the third round with a 2-over-par. She finished third overall in the tournament shooting a 7-over-par, while Spiska and Egdahl finished tied for 27th and 36th.

“Yeah, I played pretty solid,” Galantini said. “Going on, so how I was playing yesterday, just keep playing well and sticking to my gameplan, it worked out well.”

O’Connor noted that Galantini had qualified for the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship this summer, but he feels that this is only the beginning for the first year.

“I don’t think I’ve seen the best golf from her yet,” O’Connor said. “She’s going to get much better and she had a great summer.”

Maintaining consistency is hard to accomplish in sports and women’s golf has proven to be the outlier. The last Quinnipiac team to win three-straight conference championships was women’s basketfrom 2017-2019. Before them, rugby won three-straight national championships from 2015-2017.

Quietly dominating on the course, the Bobcats have shown their ability to consistently bring home hardware to add to their trophy case, one that often goes unnoticed, but is among Quinnipiac’s most decorated. 

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Ryan Johanson, Copy Editor
Colin Kennedy, Associate Sports Editor
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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