What a fall the defending national champions have had.
In a matchup of the past two NCAA champs, Wake Forest continued its stellar start to the 2023-24 season, capturing the 2023 East Lake Cup title Wednesday at Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia. The Demon Deacons topped Stanford 3-2 in match play for the crown, with the event coming down to the final hole.
Junior Carolina Lopez-Chacarra made par on the closing hole to top Stanford sophomore Megha Ganne 1 up, clinching the match. Freshman Macy Pate also had a 1-up victory while graduate student Rachel Kuehn, a four-time All-American, had a 5-and-4 win over stroke-play winner Sadie Englemann.
“It’s always wonderful to be victorious,” Wake Forest coach Kim Lewellen said. “You know, we played against just two really tough competitors, USC and then Stanford, and then to compete with them, to make the matches come down to the last holes… you can’t simulate that. So it’s just wonderful, wonderful practice for them. Again, you can’t simulate it for postseason play.”
In five events this fall, Wake Forest has three victories, a third and a T-4.
Meanwhile, in the men’s competition, it was a matchup of two teams who fell in the NCAA semifinals this spring with North Carolina taking on Florida State. Grad student Austin Greaser made birdie on the par-3 17th hole to win his match, 2 and 1, to clinch the 3-1-1 victory for the Tar Heels.
North Carolina junior David Ford and senior Peter Fountain each won their matches 4 and 3. Junior Maxwell Ford had a 5-up lead at one point, but Florida State sophomore Luke Clanton fought back to force a tie.
Similar to Wake Forest, the Tar Heels have three victories this fall in five tournaments. They also have a second at the Ben Hogan Collegiate and fell to Vanderbilt in the match-play final at the St. Andrews Links Collegiate.
Because of ongoing construction at East Lake Golf Club, the tournament was moved to Atlanta Athletic Club for this year’s rendition.