By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
LARCHWOOD, Iowa – For the second straight season, the Henderson State women’s golf program has captured the Central Region Championship with the program’s second best 54-hole score at a Par 72 course of 13-over 877.
Course records and program records highlighted the electric day for the Reddies as they captured the program’s second ever region title. Thanks to a 2-under 286 final round, Henderson, after trailing by four strokes heading into the final 18 holes, defeated second-place and event-host Augustana by eight strokes.
Gracen Blount was every bit the former Central Region Player of the Year and two-time GAC Player of the Year, delivering one of the most clutch performances for Henderson State Athletics of the year. With her team trailing by four strokes with 18 holes left, Blount took it upon herself to get her team over the hump.
That effort produced the presumed female course record at The Falls at Grand Casino with a field-best 7-under 65 as she tallied eight birdies and nine pars to only one bogey. Blount’s 7-under round is an HSU program record for a Par 72 single round.
With rounds of 76 and 75 on the first two days, the 2022 All-American put that behind her to record the highest jump on the leaders of the day. After her record round, the Hot Springs, Arkansas, native soared up the individual leaderboard 19 spots to finish in a tie for third with a 54-hole score of even-par 216.
Jinna Boonbumroongsuk continued her incredible inaugural season with Henderson, joining Blount with the sub-par final round with a 1-under 71. Boonbumroongsuk was one of only two golfers in the entire 50-player field to post two rounds under par – shooting at or below par in every round – as she finished alone at second with a 3-under 213, tying the program’s third-best Par 72, 54-hole score.
Across the three rounds, the Bangkok, Thailand, native recorded just six bogeys and 11 birdies. Boonbumroongsuk has now posted six straight Top-10 finishes and four Top-5 placements in her last six events.
Allie Bianchi finished in a tie for 12th after carding a 7-over 223 for the tournament. The consistent Bianchi posted rounds of 2-over 74, 3-over 75 and 2-over 74 to claim the Top-15 finish. The Lovejoy High School product christened her week with a hole-in-one on day two – one of just two hole-in-ones for the three-day championship event.
Daphney Tilton finished in a tie for 20th with a 10-over 226. Putting the finishing touches on the Reddies comeback for their second region title, Tilton delivered her final birdie of the tournament from 40-plus feet on her final hole for a final-round 4-over 76.
Emmie Eriksson, the entire field’s most dramatic entry coming in in the 11th hour as injury relief, finished her third round with a 5-over 77 for an 18-over 234 as she sat alone at 39th. Like Tilton, Eriksson finished out her regional performance by chipping in a birdie on her final hole.
With the victory, Henderson State earned an automatic bid to the 2023 National Championships in Eureka, Missouri, May 16-20. This will be program’s third-ever trip to the National Championships and second straight. At last year’s Nationals in Gainesville, Georgia, the Reddies finished ninth in the nation.