‘Fearless Five’ wins big in Jacksonville

Coach Patti Rizzo refers to her five starters for the Miami Hurricanes golf team as the “Fearless Five,” encouraging them to play freely and without worry on the course. They certainly were fearless in Jacksonville, Florida on Monday and Tuesday at the Web.com Intercollegiate tournament, as they led the field after each round and won by five strokes.

It was the team’s sixth top-five finish of the season and second first-place finish. Its three-round score of 851 was 13 shots below par and five shots better than the second-place team, Texas Tech University.

For the second straight tournament, a sophomore who was once ranked as the No. 1 women’s amateur in her South American country won the individual title for the Hurricanes.

Sophomore Delfina Acosta of Argentina shot 10 strokes below par to best the field by four strokes. At last weeks Briar’s Creek Invitational, it was Ecuadorian Daniela Darquea who got the individual title as the team finished in second.

Acosta shot below the 18-hole par of 72 in all three rounds at the Marsh Landing Country Club in Jacksonville. Her first-round score of 67 was followed up by a 68 and 71 in the second and third rounds, respectively.

Acosta’s terrific first round helped Miami to a first-round score of 281, seven strokes below par and good for first place. The Hurricanes nearly equaled that score in the second, shooting a 282, and giving themselves a six-shot cushion heading into the final round on Tuesday. They shot par for the course as a team in the final round and completed a dominant performance.

None of the Fearless Five finished outside of the top 35. Senior Leticia Ras-Anderica tied for fifth place by shooting three shots below par for the tournament and Darquea finished one stroke over par to tie for 13th place. Senior Rika Park was two strokes over par to tie for 16th and senior Kailey Walsh shot seven strokes over par and finished tied for 35th.

The “Fearless Five” mantra reflects Rizzo’s mental approach with her players, and it appears they’re finding a comfort level on the course with only one more competition, the SMU Invitational. It will be held on April 10-11, right before the ACC Invitational starts on April 17.

“The synergy is right where it needs to be,” Rizzo said. “We are looking forward to next week at SMU and the ACCs.”