Women’s golf claims ACC crown

A strong back nine propelled the team to victory


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

The Wake Forest women’s golf team poses with the ACC Championship trophy.

Ian Steffensen, Staff Writer

In the final round of the 2022 ACC Women’s Golf Championship, the top-seeded Wake Forest women’s golf team faced off against No. 2 Florida State. Despite being down early, the Demon Deacons found their stride on the back nine to win the title. This was Wake Forest’s seventh title in program history and second title in four years. 

The No. 4 Demon Deacons started their quest for the title on Friday by facing off against fellow conference members in a 36-hole stroke-play match. Wake Forest led the field with a total of 130 pars and 26 birdies. Graduate student Virunpat Olankitkuncha and junior Rachel Kuehn set the tone for the Demon Deacons, each finishing at three under par. Junior Lauren Walsh had a stellar second round, shooting five under to close out her day at two under par. At the end of the day, Wake Forest and Florida State were tied for the team lead each at eight under par.

On Saturday, the top-seeded Demon Deacons faced off against the Virginia Cavaliers in the semifinal round. Sophomore Mimi Rhodes was first to put Wake Forest on the board, winning in dominant fashion after being five up with three holes left. Freshman Caroline Chacarra battled back from an injury to win on the 17th hole to move two up and win the match. This gave the Demon Deacons a 2-1 advantage over the Cavaliers before inclement weather forced a delay. 

After a slight lull in the action, Wake Forest came out firing. On the par-five 18th hole, Kuehn landed the green in two and sunk a five-foot putt for an eagle to win the hole and close out her match leading by two holes. The Demon Deacons won 3-1 and booked their ticket to the final step towards winning the crown. 

 In the final round on Sunday, the Seminoles came out red hot. At the turn, Florida State led three of their five matches, and the Demon Deacons seemed to have no answer. Yet, Wake Forest did not let up and began to find its stride on the back nine. Kuehn was down two strokes going into the back nine but rallied to go into the final hole tied. She landed the green again in two strokes on the par five, and made a 25-foot putt for eagle to clinch the match and put the first point on the board for the Demon Deacons. Olankitkunchai’s match was all square at the turn, yet with a strong showing on the back nine, she went into the 17th hole one up in her match. On the 17th hole, she closed out with a par to win the hole and clinch the match point. Junior Lauren Walsh went into the final hole all square in her match. Walsh sunk a 55-foot putt for birdie to clinch the championship for Wake Forest. 

“We started the day playing well, but Florida State was playing outstanding,” said Head Coach Kim Lewellen. “We were down quite a bit. The team stayed committed to the game plan and putts started to fall for us, the momentum changed, and we came out on top.” 

The team will continue to celebrate their ACC Championship win, before turning their focus toward the NCAA tournament, which will kick off in May.