April 21, 2013
Greensboro, N.C. -
Virginia senior Brittany Altomare (Shrewsbury, Mass.) became the first player in the Cavalier program's history to win the ACC Women's Golf individual championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. Altomare led the 45-player field after all three rounds and claimed medalist honors at 4-over 217. She had rounds of 71, 70 and 76 on the par-71 course.
Duke won its 18th ACC team title in convincing fashion, finishing first at 30-over 882. NC State was second at 906 and Virginia was third at 909. The Cavaliers shot 25-over 309 during Sundays' final round.
The individual crown was the third tournament victory during Altomare's career. She finished first at the Golfweek Challenge in September of 2010 and took top honors at The Landfall Tradition one month later.
Growing up in Shrewsbury, just west of Boston, made for a difficult week for Altomare following the bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon on Monday and subsequent manhunt that played out on national television during the week.
"Honestly, I wanted to be home," said Altomare, who played the ACC Championship with a red Boston Red Sox bracelet around her left wrist. "My dad was here this weekend, but all of my other family and friends were back home. I felt helpless, like I could not do anything. I just sat back and kept watching it all happen. For something like that to take place in your own city, like 40 minutes from where your home is, it is insane. I felt nervous and scared for everyone back home."
Altomare, a three-time All-American, turned to the advice of the athletics department's sports psychologist, Jim Bauman, who has worked with her to improve her concentration.
"It was hard to stay focused, but I've been working on staying in the present moment and I knew there was really nothing that I could do to prevent whatever was going to happen in Boston," she said. "I just tried to focus on golf while I was on the course and talk to my friends afterward and see how everything was going.
"When the guys who did it were caught a couple of nights ago, it was a big sigh of relief for me."
Altomare finished two shots ahead of Duke's Laetitia Beck and four strokes in front of a trio of third-place finishers that included 2012 ACC Champion Lindy Duncan.
She completed her first two rounds at 1-under par and reeled off nine consecutive pars Sunday morning to build her lead to as much as five shots. She played her final nine holds at 5-over, but managed pars on three of her final four holes to coast to the title.
"She played very well this week," said Virginia coach Kim Lewellen. "The course was a tough, it was a championship level golf course, and it was windy all three days. She played it strategically well. She placed her approach shots well and did what she needed to do to earn the championship."
Altomare has come close to earning medalist honors several times this season. She has finished third three times and was the runner up in the Cavaliers last outing at the Bryan National Collegiate in Greensboro.
The championship marked the third time Altomare has posted a top-10 showing at the ACC Championships. She was the runner-up her freshman season and placed seventh as a sophomore. Last year she finished a disappointing 22nd.
"Course management is a big part of playing well here and I tried to play smart and to think my way around the golf course," Altomare said. "I had a couple of good finishes coming into this tournament and I thought that my game felt pretty good.
"I can't put into words how much this means to me with all the crazy stuff going on back home. It meant a lot for me to play good golf this week. This definitely goes out to everyone back home."
Altomare's finish was the 19th top-10 performance during her career, making her the Virginia career leader in that category.
Virginia sophomore Briana Mao finished ninth overall at 12-over 225. It was her fourth top-10 finish in her last five tournaments. Portland Rosen was 17th for the Cavaliers at 230 while Elizabeth Brightwell placed 35th at 239 and Nicole Agnello was 38th at 242.
Virginia will compete at one of three NCAA regional championship sites May 9-11 to try and advance to the NCAA Championships. The Cavaliers have finished fourth at the last two NCAA Championships.
Sedgefield Country Club
Par-71, 6,210 yards
1. Duke 293-292-297-882
2. NC State 301-295-310-906
3. Virginia 300-300-309-909
4. Florida State 306-303-310-919
5. North Carolina 308-309-307-924
5. Miami 314-304-306-924
7. Wake Forest 310-304-311-925
8. Maryland 311-321-312-944
9. Boston College 311-314-321-946
1. Brittany Altomare, Virginia 71-70-76-217
2. Laetitia Beck, Duke 74-73-72-219
3. Alejandra Cangrejo, Duke 72-77-72-221
3. Lindy Duncan, Duke 73-71-77-221
3. Leticia Ras-Anderica, Miami 74-72-75-221
1. Brittany Altomare 71-70-76-217
9. Briana Mao 74-72-79-225
17. Portland Rosen 76-78-76-230
35. Elizabeth Brightwell 79-82-78-239
38. Nicole Agnello 82-80-80-242