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Arizona men’s, women’s golf earn top five finishes at Blessings

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Arizona’s men’s and women’s golf teams closed strong at the Blessings Collegiate Invitation in Fayetteville, Arkansas to earn top five finishes respectively.

Arizona was one of 10 schools to compete in the highly competitive Blessings, which took place Oct. 4-6.

The Wildcats men placed second overall at 5-under par, finishing behind host Arkansas (15-under) and ahead of every other opponent. Arizona moved up four spots between the second and third rounds.

Junior Chase Sienkiewicz tied his career best finish with a second place showing in the individual competition by shooting 8-under. Junior Aidric Chan finished in a tie for 15th at even, while graduate senior Christian Banke shot a 2-over to place 19th.

Jackson Norwich, a freshman making his collegiate debut, finished in a tie for 22nd at 4-over.

“I am very pleased with our play this entire week with runner-up performances as a team as well on the individual side with Chase,” said head coach Jim Anderson. ”We improved as a team and played better golf each day, which is a great testament to our guys’ resiliency. Our entire lineup posted quality individual performances, which will be great for our development moving forward.”

The men exceeded their No. 60 national ranking per Golfweek, placing ahead of No. 4 North Carolina, No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 29 Illinois among others.

The Wildcats men are the defending Pac-12 champions.

On the women’s side, Arizona shot the second-lowest team score on Wednesday to finish fourth overall at 25-over par. The Wildcats finished behind host Arkansas (9-under), UCLA (10-over) and Texas Tech (17-over) and ahead of defending national champion Ole Miss (38-over) among others.

Junior Vivian Hou led the Wildcats at 5-over for 13th place and right behind her was freshman Carolina Melgrati at six-over for a tie for 14th. Senior Yu-Sang Hou shot 10-over, good enough for a tie for 23rd, while senior Gile Bite Starkutewent 12-over for a tie for 26th.

“We played a really solid round yesterday and came out and shot even lower scores today,” said head coach Laura Ianello. ”Our entire team made adjustments throughout the week and improved each round. I am proud of how our ladies kept competing and battling a tough course to finish towards the top of the leaderboards.”

The Wildcats are ranked No. 15 in Golfweek’s latest poll.

The Arizona women reached the NCAA Championships semifinals last year.