Golf: Amazing Alyaa fights back to stay in contention


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s No. 1 women amateur golfer Alyaa Abdulghany (pic) mounted a superb comeback to survive in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 Women’s Golf Championship in the United States.

Alyaa kept her top 10 hopes alive when she fired a third round three-under 69 at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Arizona on Sunday.

The University of Southern California (USC) final year student was in danger of missing the 54-hole cut following a pair of 75s.

But she recovered brilliantly by mixing an eagle, two birdies and a bogey for a three-day, three-over 219 total to shoot up from tied-61st to tied-23rd in the 132-player field.

Her efforts ensured Alyaa a place in the final round by virtue of being one of the leading nine individual golfers not on the advancing 15 teams.

However, Alya’s display failed to inspire USC to the latter stages.

Her teammates Allisen Corpuz, Brianna Navarrosa, Malia Nam and Amelia Garvey could only post a combined 52-over 916 (308-310-298) over three rounds to be placed second from bottom in the 24-team standings.

It was certainly a disappointing finish for the eighth-seeded USC, who are three-time winners in the season-ending tournament, which is the country’s most important colleagiate meet on the calendar.

Alyaa was in the team that made it to the top-eight match play stage, finishing as quarter-finalists in 2018 and semi-finalists in 2019.

The event did not take place last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

It’s now left to Alyaa to redeem some pride for herself and USC by securing a respectable finish in the 72-hole stroke play.

A top-10 finish is still within reach as Alyaa trails by three shots.

Another Malaysian, Ashley Lau, missed the cut in both individual and team events.

The debutant was, however, the second-best performing member for the University of Michigan tying at 53rd with a seven-over 223 (75-77-71).

Michigan are 20th in the team standings after posting a 39-over 903 total (304-296-303).

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