UGA women’s golf signee Paula Neira Garcia convincingly won the 2017 Spain Amateur Championship Sunday afternoon at the Club de Golf de Lerma by seven shots.
Neira Garcia, of Gijon, Spain, fired a 68-66-68-77—279 card to finish seven shots in front of the next competitor and nine shots under par on the 72-par course. The junior golfer was presented with the Championship trophy from the Mayor of Lerma (Celia Izquierdo), the President of the Golf Federation of Castilla and Leon (Jose Ignacaio), and President of Golf Lerma (Felix Adrian).
The incoming Georgia freshman moved ahead of the pack in the second round as she collected six birdies and an eagle to hold a three-stroke lead. Neira Garcia’s lead stretched to nine shots after the third round to put her in a comfortable position heading into the final round.
Sunday’s cold and wet environment hampered much of the field including Neira Garcia, however her extensive cushion on the leaderboard held to secure the win. Neira Garcia was the youngest player in the 76-player field.
Following Neira Garcia on the leaderboard were two South Carolina Gamecocks, Ana Pelaez and Ainhoa Olarra. Pelaez, a rising sophomore, trailed Neira Garcia by seven strokes with a card of 67-70-77-72—286, while Olarra, a rising senior, finished a shot behind her Gamecock teammate.
Earlier this year, Neira Garcia was third in the Women’s Madrid Championships and was a member of the third-place Spanish team in the Royal Sotogrande Golf Club Cup. Neira Garcia signed her letter-of-intent to compete for the Bulldogs in April.