FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2023 (Paradise Island, Bahamas) – Senior Haley Vargas took individual honors and Kansas State had two of the top five finishers as the Wildcats led from start to finish and easily won the White Sands Bahamas NCAA Women’s Invitational at the Ocean Club Golf Course at Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Vargas, who shot 70 to lead after the first day, shot a 1-under-par 71 Sunday, while Noa van Beek of the Netherlands and Remington Isaac, from Montgomery, Tex., counted with 74 and 75, respectively, helping Kansas State a 7-stroke advantage over North Florida, which closed the gap with a late rally. Kansas State had led by 13 strokes going into the final round. Alenka Navarro, a freshman from Mexico, also counted for the Wildcats with a 76.
“It was definitely a challenge out there because of the wind. I just tried to stay positive and keep concentrating,” said Vargas. “It was a total grind this week. But I’m so proud of our team. This is a good way to finish the season.”
Vargas, from Lubbock, Tex., posted rounds of 70-76-71 for a 1 over total of 217. Her winning total was two strokes better than Chistina Carroll, a Delaware senior, who finished with an even par 72 and a 3 over total of 219. Two others were tied for third, including Julia Ballester Barrio of Kansas State, who had a 69 in round two. That was the low round of the tournament until Mia Gray, a freshman for Charlotte, carded a stellar 5 under 67 Sunday. Gray had four birdies and an eagle on her round, which help the 49ers climb three places in the team standings.
“This was my career best by two shots,” said Gray, a Conway, S.C. native. “To be honest, it was very exciting and very scary. I got up-and-down from everywhere, and even made an eagle three on the 13th with a hybrid to 3 feet. I knew I could do it. It just wasn’t coming together until today.”
For the third consecutive day, the strong wind was a factor and a stern defense for the 6,156-yard seaside layout. Gray’s teammate Kaiyuree Moodley of South Africa posted a 69 Sunday to tie for the second lowest round of the 54-hole event. But overall, there were just eight rounds under par for the tournament, and Vargas had two of them.
Kansas State finished 20 over as a team, while North Florida was at 27 over. Grand Canyon held steady in third place, followed by UNC-Charlotte, Delaware, Tulane, Santa Clara, Eastern Kentucky, Troy, Tampa and Eastern Michigan.
“The scenery here is unreal,” said Vargas. “As a college athlete, this was an unbelievable experience. It was the trip of a lifetime.”
“Nothing could have put a damper on this week,” said a happy Kansas State coach Stew Burke. “The team did a good job. This was a business trip, and we took care of business. But I know the girls were looking forward to the waterslide at the hotel for six months.” This was the fourth year for the annual golf tournament, which also was played at the Ocean Club Golf Course in 2019, 2021 and 2022. Texas, Campbell and Lipscomb were the past women’s winners over this layout designed by past major champion Tom Weiskopf.
For more coverage of the 2023 White Sands Bahamas NCAA Invitational, follow @WhiteSandsBah on social media and use the following hashtags: #WhiteSandsBahamas and #WhiteSandsNCAA or visit WhiteSandsBahamas.com
1 Kansas State 293 294 297 884 +20
2 North Florida 300 300 291 891 +27
3 Grand Canyon 302 299 299 900 +36
4 Santa Clara 308 312 290 910 +46
5 Charlotte 319 312 284 915 +51
6 Delaware 309 309 300 918 +54
7 Tulane 308 314 302 924 +60
8 Eastern Kentucky 315 312 298 925 +61
9 Troy 310 327 302 939 +75
10 Tampa, U. of 319 323 308 950 +86
11 Eastern Michigan 326 328 321 975 +111
1 Haley Vargas Kansas State 70 76 71 217 +1
2 Christina Carroll Delaware 70 77 72 219 +3
T3 Leighton Shosted Grand Canyon 76 73 72 221 +5
T3 Julia Ballester Barrio Kansas State 75 69 77 221 +5
T5 Casilda Allendesalazar North Florida 73 75 74 222 +6
T5 Christin Eisenbeiss North Florida 76 74 72 222 +6
7 Alenka Navarro Kansas State 72 74 77 223 +7
T8 Patricia Garre Muñoz Santa Clara 75 78 72 225 +9
T8 Noa van Beek Kansas State 76 75 74 225 +9
T8 Constanza Guerrero Grand Canyon 72 79 74 225 +9
ABOUT THE BAHAMAS
With over 700 islands and cays and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, offering an easy fly-away escape that transports travelers away from their everyday. The Islands of The Bahamas have world-class fishing, diving, boating and thousands of miles of the earth’s most spectacular water and beaches waiting for families, couples and adventurers. Explore all the islands have to offer at www.bahamas.com or on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram to see why “It’s Better in The Bahamas.”
ABOUT OCEAN CLUB GOLF COURSE
Atlantis Paradise Island’s Ocean Club Golf Course offers a challenging and beautiful course for golfers desiring championship play. Masterfully conceived, the Tom Weiskopf-designed 18-hole, par 72 championship course stretches over 7,100 yards on Atlantis’ peninsula. The course has hosted iconic sporting events such as the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational (MJCI), the Michael Douglas & Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament and the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. For more information about Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and the Ocean Club please visit www.atlantisbahamas.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For White Sands Bahamas NCAA Invitational
Contact: Mike Harmon
BAHAMAS MINISTRY OF TOURISM, INVESTMENTS & AVIATION CONTACT:
Atlantis Paradise Island