SOUTHPORT, N.C. – After holing out on the 18th green at The Reserve Club at St. James to complete her final round of the Colonial Athletic Association women’s golf championship, senior Svarin Yuenyong began to walk behind the green to greet her teammates.
The round was the final of Yuenyong’s Elon career. As she approached her teammates, she was surprised as they presented her with a bouquet of flowers to commemorate the completion of her four years with the Phoenix. As tears began to well in her eyes, she shared a hug with all of teammates and friends.
“I was not expecting this at all,” Yuenyong said. “I was so into the golf, and I had no words. It was a wonderful moment.”
Yuenyong finished her Elon career in style, as she posted a 1-over par 73 in the final round to finish in a tie for sixth in the individual standings and help the Phoenix place third in the team standings.
The Phoenix shot a 4-over par 292 on Sunday, the lowest score in the final round and tied with College of Charleston’s Saturday 292 for the lowest score in the tournament. After making just 11 birdies in the first two rounds combined, Elon made 16 on the final day.
The third place finish was Elon’s best in this event since its debut appearance in 2015, when the Phoenix finished second. The Phoenix finished fourth in both of Yuenyong’s appearances in the event and she said she was happy to help Elon finish better than fourth for the first time since the runner-up result eight years ago.
“Once I saw the scoreboard, I was like, ‘Yes, we finally did it,’” Yuenyong said. “I am so proud of everyone.”
After making no birdies in Saturday’s second round, Yuenyong made the turn at 3-under par, as she carded birdies on the third, seventh and ninth holes. A 15-minute pop-up rain shower during her front nine created a new challenge for Yuenyong but she said she handled the changing conditions well.
“I told myself I had to be patient,” Yuenyong said. “I had to focus and try my best on every single shot.”
She made par on the final three holes to complete her 73, including a mid-range par save on the par-3 16th that had her pump her fist in excitement.
The result was Yuenyong’s second straight top 10 at the CAA championship, as she tied for ninth at last year’s event to pace the Phoenix. She said her strong play in the event has resulted from her fondness for the course.
“The course is always really enjoyable for me,” Yuenyong said. “It’s not too challenging, it’s not too easy. It’s always like right in-between. It’s a course where I can prove myself and enjoy.”
Senior Annabelle Ackroyd shot a 2-under par 70, the lowest score of anyone in the field Sunday and lowest score of the week by an Elon player, to finish alone in fifth place and earn All-Tournament honors. Ackroyd made five birdies on Sunday and finished the weekend with a team-best eight.
Behind three birdies in a five-hole stretch to start her back nine, junior Lotte Fox also placed in the top 10, as she tied for eighth. Junior Apple Ngamwong also tied for 13th for the Phoenix.
Elon’s 54-hole team score was 899, just two shots behind the University of Delaware’s second-place total. College of Charleston defended its team title with a total of 880, one off the tournament scoring record set by the University of North Carolina, Wilmington in 2008. The Cougars have won the tournament all five times it has been contested at The Reserve Club at St. James and are the first back-to-back champions of the event since Delaware in 2016-17.
With the result, Elon’s season is over, The Phoenix battled back after a disappointing opening round of 306 that all but dashed its hopes of winning. Despite the poor first day, Yuenyong said Elon got better with each round this weekend.
“Even though we didn’t get off to the best start, I feel like we finished off really strong,” Yuenyong said.
Although Yuenyong’s Elon career has come to an end, she will always have the moment with her teammates behind the 18th green.
“I love the girls and I am really happy they brought me these flowers,” Yuenyong said. “It was so precious.”