De Villa nails first US NCAA crown

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THE LITTLE lady in a hurry just nailed something big.

Former Philippine Ladies Open champ Debbie de Villa clinched her first US NCAA title by winning the individual plum for Texas Tech Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) at the Pirates and Knights Invitational golf tournament in Florida.

De Villa, up by four after compiling a five-under card in Monday’s opening two rounds at the Suntree Country Club, struggled with a two-over 74 in the final 18 holes but still finished two strokes ahead of Purdue’s Paula Reto.

De Villa also powered Texas Tech to a second-place finish in team play.

“She felt very comfortable and confident with her game,” her mom Lilibeth said after Debbie completed her best finish in her stint with the Lady Raiders. Her previous best finish was a seventh-place performance at the Texas State Challenge.

Deb is racing against time, academically, as the former Greenhills Christian Fellowship student is hoping to finish her pre-law studies in three and a half years this December.

Deb’s elder sister, Linnel, who is a former jungolf campaigner herself, is graduating summa cum laude at the California State University in San Marcos with a degree in business administration.

Texas lost the team title to Central Florida by just a stroke. Tech came into the round leading Central Florida by four strokes and led by as many as six heading to the back nine. The lead quickly disappeared, though, keeping Tech from its third tournament title of the year.

Beverly Mendoza, another Filipino in the Texas Tech team, also had a 74 like de Villa and wound up in a tie for 29th overall.

The tournament marked Tech’s final tune up prior to the Big 12 Championships in late April. With reports from the Texas Tech website

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