Albuquerque, New Mexico - San Diego State women’s golfer Gioia Carpinelli (Boppelsen, Switzerland) tied for second place at the Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational on Tuesday after firing a career-best 4-under-par 68 during the final round at the par-72, 6,317-yard UNM Championship South Course.

With her total, the Aztec sophomore climbed eight places on the leaderboard to share the runner-up spot with Darian Zachek of host New Mexico at 6-under 210—one shot behind medalist Hira Naveed of Pepperdine (-7).

Collectively, SDSU moved up one notch in the standings, completing their season-opening tournament in third place with a 2-over-par 866, which is tied for fourth place in program history for lowest 54-hole team score.

Kent State (-6) maintained its lofty perch from the previous day, capturing the event title by a five-stroke margin over second-place Pepperdine (-1), while the Aztecs (+2) topped three schools that qualified for the NCAA Championships last year, including Northwestern (4th, +3), Colorado (T-6th, +10) and California (T-8th, +15).

Additionally, Carpinelli’s 210 marked a collegiate-best and is tied for sixth on the school’s all-time individual charts. The Swiss native led the Scarlet and Black with five birdies on Tuesday, including an impressive conversion at the par-4, 386-yard No. 6, which ranked as the third-toughest hole of the week, to go with three consecutive drains at No. 17, No. 18 and No. 1.

Conversely, Fernanda Escauriza (Asunción, Paraguay) fell out of contention, slipping 13 places into a tie for 15th at 1-over 217 thanks to a final-round 78. After sinking six birdies in round two, the Aztec junior managed just one conversion on Tuesday at the par-5, 506-yard No. 1. Despite the stumble, Escauriza still managed her sixth career top-20 placement.

Sara Kjellker (Hollviken, Sweden) also lost ground over the final 18 holes, dropping four places into a tie for 23rd at 3-over 219 on the heels of a second straight 75. The SDSU sophomore shook off two early bogeys and a double with four consecutive birdies on holes 11-14 to get back to even-par for the round. However, Kjellker was unable to sustain the momentum, suffering three bogeys down the stretch, which precipitated her fall.

On the other hand, senior Daniela Anastasi (La Jolla, Calif.) made the biggest gain for San Diego State on Tuesday, vaulting 26 places into a tie for 41st at 7-over 223 after firing a 70. Despite two bogeys on her final five holes, the La Jolla High product still posted her lowest score as a collegian, thanks to four birdies, including back-to-back drains at No. 12 and 13.

The Aztec starting five also featured fellow classmate Kitty Tam (Hong Kong, China), who slipped 14 places into a tie for 68th at 13-over 229 after logging a final-round 79. Tam started on a discouraging note with bogeys on her first two holes and was unable to recover, suffering six additional blemishes against only one birdie.

In addition, the SDSU contingent feature freshman Tatum Mahon (San Diego, Calif.) an unattached golfer who ended the week at 34-over 250 after recording an 81 on Tuesday.

The Aztecs will return to the course later this month for the Golfweek Conference Challenge, Sept. 24-26, at Red Sky Golf Club in Wolcott, Colorado.

Branch/McGuire Invitational

Final Results

Albuquerque, N.M.

UNM Championship South Course

Par 72, 6,317 yards


Team Standings (Top 5 teams of 16 schools)

1. Kent State                           289-280-289—858 (-6)

2. Pepperdine                          295-287-281—863 (-1)

3. San Diego State              288-287-291—866 (+2)

4. Northwestern                       289-284-294—867 (+3)

5. New Mexico                         288-291-295—868 (+4)                       


Individual Leaders (Top 5 of 93 players + SDSU)          

1. Hira Naveed, Pepperdine                      71-70-68—209 (-7)

T2. Gioia Carpinelli, SDSU                  72-70-68—210 (-6)

T2. Darian Zachek, New Mexico                70-67-73—210 (-6)

4. Cindy Oh, California                             72-67-73—212 (-4)

5. Sophie Hausmann, Idaho                     69-71-73—213 (-3)                              


T15. Fernanda Escauriza, SDSU         72-67-78—217 (+1)

T23. Sara Kjellker, SDSU                   69-75-75—219 (+3)

T41. Daniela Anastasi, SDSU             78-75-70—223 (+9)

T54. Kitty Tam, SDSU                        75-75-79—229 (+13)

92. Tatum Mahon, SDSU^                 85-84-81—250 (+34)