From staff reports | Photo courtesy of SC Athletics
Former Gamecock golfer Ainhoa Olarra has made the cut at the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur, winning the second playoff hole at Champions Retreat to qualify for the final round at Augusta National on April 6. The group will be the first women to play a competitive round in the storied history of the club.
The 24-year-old Olarra, caddied by South Carolina head coach Kalen Anderson, finished with a second-round 72 to move up from a tie for 33rd to a tie for 21st and make the sudden-death playoff, which featured 11 golfers.
Olarra bogeyed the first sudden-death playoff hole, setting up a 2-for-1 spot on the par-3 17th. She nailed her tee shot and set up a long birdie putt that she sank to advance to Saturday's final round, which will be televised on the Golf Channel. The entire field will have a practice round on April 5 at Augusta National before official third-round action on Saturday.
As the oldest member of the field, Olarra made a big move during the second round, carding four birdies on the front nine to pull back to 1-over. On the back nine, it was all about consistency for the former Gamecock. Outside of a double bogey on the par-3 17th, Olarra was locked in, posting eight pars down the stretch to card an even 72.
The Spaniard posted a 3-over 75 in her opening round, sinking three birdies. She ended the first round with momentum, finishing the final five holes 1-under with one birdie.
Olarra boasted a historic senior campaign for Carolina in 2018 after posting the lowest single-season stroke average (71.00) in program history. She was named a Golfweek All-American and captured individual titles at the 2018 Florida State Match-Up and 2018 SEC Championship.
Olarra ranks second all-time among Gamecocks in career scoring average (73.44) and career wins (2), and her 12 top-10 finishes stand as the eighth-best total in school history.
Since graduating, Olarra turned her focus away from the sport of golf, using her degree in management and economics to work as a full-time auditor at Deloitte in Madrid.