By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
EUREKA, Mo. — No. 3 Henderson State carded the best final round of any team in the field Tuesday at the National Championship Preview as HSU finished just four strokes back of No. 1 Dallas Baptist to finish second overall with a 36-over 900. The Reddies edged out No. 10 West Texas A&M by one stroke and bested No. 18 Missouri-St. Louis by 16 shots.
Junior Allie Bianchi claimed the individual crown after recording a final round-low of 4-under 68, finishing with the 54-hole score of 1-under 215. The first-place finish is Bianchi’s first tournament victory of her collegiate career while a 4-under 68 is her personal lowest round at an event during her time at HSU.
Through three tournaments this season, Henderson has finished better than where it closed out the first day of competition at every event it has played in 2022. At the fall opener in Blue Springs, Missouri, HSU finished the first day of play in second before finishing first overall. At the DBU Women’s Classic, the Reddies closed the first two rounds in second before claiming the top spot after the final round. Tuesday, HSU climbed from fourth to second on the team leaderboard in the final round of action.
The aforementioned Bianchi saw a near bogey-less round on her final 18 from Fox Run Golf Club. With the Allen, Texas native starting on hole four, the Lovejoy High School product tallied four birdies before shooting a bogey on the par 4, 385-yard first hole. A birdie on the following hole gave Bianchi her career-low 4-under 68.
Jinna Boonbumroongsuk finished sixth overall with a 7-over 223 for her best individual finish since becoming a Reddie at the beginning of the season. The transfer from Nebraska-Omaha was sitting at 1-under through her first 14 holes of the final 18 before finishing with a 2-over 74.
True freshman Lily Nelson, after opening the two-day event with an 11-over 83, carded back-to-back 2-over 74s, climbing the leaderboard 10 spots to finish in a tie for 17th in what is her best finish of her young college career. Nelson combated a 4-over 40 back nine with a 2-under 34 on the front end to seize her second consecutive Top-20 finish.
Gracen Blount saw some of the most movement of the final day, shooting up 25 spots after her final-round 1-over 73 to finish with a 22-over 238. Daphney Tilton rounded out HSU with a 25-over 241 for a tie at 42nd.
No. 3 Henderson St. returns to the Natural State where it will host its annual Battle for the Belt tournament from Hot Springs Country Club Oct. 17-18.
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