After three years as runner-up in the Big East Tournament, the women’s golf team captures the title and three players are named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team (COURTESY GUHOYAS).

The Georgetown women’s golf team continued its season-long dominance with a return to the Hilltop as Big East champions for the first time in school history. The victory comes after three consecutive runner-up finishes.

“Each runner-up finish we learned something, and we were really able to put that together this time. We were hungry, and that was the big difference of why we were able to close this year,” junior Lauren Gros said.

The Hoyas finished first out of six Big East teams at the Dogwood and Magnolia Courses in Callawassie, S.C. Georgetown led the entire tournament with an eight-shot lead going into the final round and held on to win by nine strokes. Their final score of 32-over-par 896 led second place Butler, who finished 41-over-par 905.

Three players — Gros, sophomore Alexa Popowitz and junior captain Jacquelyn Eleey — led Georgetown’s efforts. The trio finished in the top five in the field, and each player was selected to the Big East All-Tournament Team.

Gros finished first for Georgetown and second in the field at 6-over par 222. She had nine birdies in the tournament, tied for second among all scorers.

“I really think my game came together last week. My ball striking has been really great throughout the spring season, and that’s been a huge positive for me because I was out all of last year due to various injuries. It was something I had been struggling to get back since I had been out of practice, so having confidence with [striking the ball] was really important,” Gros said.

Popowitz finished in fourth place with a score of 7-over-par 223. She led all players in pars with 42, and at one point, she led all players on the field in the final round.

“This spring season has probably been my best at Georgetown. I had a couple good finishes at some tough tournaments and I won the Hoya [Invitational], so that was a good motivating thing to go into the Big East [Championship],” said Popowitz.

Eleey tied for fifth place and also had nine birdies over the weekend. Her best round came Saturday when she shot a 2-over-par 74.

“Jacquelyn almost always plays well, and it’s a bonus when your captain is one of your best players. Our team culture is very strong, and I say a huge majority of that is because of Jacquelyn. She’s a very natural leader,” Head Coach Katie Brophy said.

Freshman Ashley Fitzgibbons and sophomore Christina Parsells also had strong performances that helped the Blue and Gray clinch their Championship victory. Fitzgibbons finished 10th in the field and had eight birdies, and Parsells tied for 18th at 20-over-par 236. Overall, Georgetown led all teams in pars and birdies with 164 and 34, respectively.

“There’s something extremely special about this group of girls,” Eleey said.

With the win, the Hoyas move on to their first NCAA Championship. To the players, going into the regional may be more of a mental task than anything.

“We all have the talent and the skills. We just have to not get in our own ways to let that talent shine on the golf course,” Popowitz said.

Aside from the mental game, Coach Brophy looks to work on some fundamentals with the team before they begin in regionals.

“We’re going to work a lot on our short game, we saw down in South Carolina that the play around the greens really determined who the winner was,” Coach Brophy said.

With the stakes at their highest, the players feel now is the right time for them to play their best golf.

“All of our hard work all fall and spring has led up to this point, and now that it’s paid off, we still have more work to do because I know we still have three more awesome rounds in us, and I don’t think we peaked yet. It’s all about peaking at the right time and putting together three great rounds, so the team is really excited to represent Georgetown in their first ever regionals,” Eleey said.

Georgetown’s tournament draw will be announced Thursday at 11 a.m. on the Golf Channel.

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